Discover how a tympanoplasty can help to repair damaged ear drums.

A tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves repairing or replacing the ear drum. It is most often performed on children, although adults also may be eligible for this treatment for inner ear damages. It likewise is a treatment option for people who suffer from congenital defects of the ear drum.

  • Children are at a higher risk of chronic ear infections because of their inexperienced immune systems
  • After suffering repeated bouts of ear infections, children could develop complications like ruptured or permanently damaged ear drums that need to be repaired

What is a Tympanoplasty?

This surgery is most often performed on an outpatient basis and can be done under a local or general anesthetic. Children typically are put under general sedation to keep them quiet and still during the operation. Older children, teenagers, and adults may receive local intravenous sedation, however.

After the patient is sedated, the surgeon will make a small incision in the inner ear canal. He will then insert an endoscope through the incision to identify the location of the ear drum.

Using endoscopic surgical instruments, he will then lift and remove the damaged ear drum and graft the new ear drum into place. The new ear drum may be crafted from the patient’s own cartilage, ensuring a lower chance of rejection and infection. The entire procedure should take about an hour or less. After it is completed, the incision will be closed with surgical adhesive or sutures. The ear canal will then be packed with gauze to stop any bleeding and to minimize exposure to bacteria.

Given the nature in which the surgery is performed, it is more precise and faster than other types of ear surgery. It also comes with fewer risks and is faster from which to recover.

Why is a Tympanoplasty Performed?

Tympanoplasty surgery is performed to address a variety of inner ear conditions and injuries. Its primary role is to repair or replace an ear drum that has been damaged from chronic infections or congenital defects. However, it may also be performed to repair damages from injuries like punctures.

Many doctors recommend it when other treatment options have failed to prevent recurrent ear infections in patients. When people do not respond to antibiotics or antihistamines, they may need to undergo a tympanoplasty to alleviate the pain and pressure of an infected and ruptured ear drum.

Before a patient is permitted to undergo this surgery, however, he or she may need to be thoroughly examined to ensure his or her candidacy for the procedure. Patients with underlying health conditions like asthma or COPD may need specialized care like pre-surgical breathing treatments to prevent complications during or after the surgery.

Tympanoplasty Recovery

Otherwise, patients who are deemed healthy enough may be permitted to go through the surgery and then sent home to recover. The recovery period for a tympanoplasty is shorter than recovery times for more invasive procedures. Many patients are fully recuperated in a week to 10 days after their operations.

As you recuperate, however, it is important that you continue to take any medications prescribed to you as directed. You may be given an antibiotic to keep away infection as the new ear drum heals. You also may be prescribed pain medication to relieve your discomfort while you recuperate.

After several weeks of healing, you may be asked to follow up with your doctor to ensure that the ear drum transplant is adjusting to its new position in your ear. Your doctor can also make sure that it is not infected or being rejected by your body. You should be able to resume your normal activities within a matter of weeks. You likewise should regain your normal hearing and sense of balance within three months after the surgery.

People with ruptured or deformed ear drums need specialized treatment to correct this problem. They may not respond to antibiotics or antihistamines that would treat acute inner ear infections and illnesses. A tympanoplasty is an outpatient surgery designed to address deformities, injuries, and illnesses of the ear drum.