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Alternative Names Return to topTympanoplasty; Ossiculoplasty; Ossicular reconstruction
Definition Return to top
Eardrum repair, called tympanoplasty, is a procedure to correct a tear in the eardrum (tympanic membrane). Ossiculoplasty is the repair of the small bones in the middle ear.
Description Return to top
Using general anesthesia, an ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist grafts a small patch from a vein or fascia (muscle sheath) onto the eardrum to repair the tear.
For problems with the small bones (ossicles), the surgeon will use an operating microscope to view and repair this chain of small bones using plastic artificial bones or ossicles from a donor.
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
A number of problems can permanently damage your eardrum (tympanic membrane) or harm the very small bones (ossicles) that are right behind the eardrum. These problems include chronic ear infections, trauma, cancer, and cholesteatoma.
This damage may cause hearing loss, pain, or an infection that does not go away.
If antibiotics or other treatments do not heal chronic ear infections, then surgical eardrum repair may be necessary.
Risks Return to top
Risks for any surgery are:
Additional risks include:
Before the Procedure Return to top
Always tell your doctor or nurse:
On the day of the surgery:
After the Procedure Return to topPatients usually leave the hospital the same day as the surgery. It is important to avoid water in the ear. There are sometimes stitches behind the ear for the first week and packing material in the ear. Your health care provider may recommend the use of a hair cap when showering for a few weeks after the procedure.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
In most cases, the operation relieves pain and infection symptoms completely. Hearing loss is minor. The outcome may not be as good if the bones in the middle ear need reconstruction along with the eardrum.
References Return to top
Javia LR, Ruckenstein, MJ. Ossiculoplasty. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2006;39(6):1177-1189.
El-Kashlan HK, Harker LA. Tympanoplasty and ossiculoplasty. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, Robbins KT, Thomas JR, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2005: chap 136.Update Date: 3/3/2009 Updated by: James L. Demetroulakos, MD, FACS, Department of Otolaryngology, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, MA. Clinical Instructor in Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.