Tympanoplasty is reconstructive surgery for torn tympanic membranes (eardrums) or ossicles (middle ear bones). Eardrum tears may result from chronic infection or, less commonly, from trauma to the eardrum.
Tympanoplasty can also help to restore hearing, treat certain types of deafness, and prevent middle ear infections. Tympanoplasty can be performed through the ear canal or through an incision behind the ear.
Tympanic membrane grafting may be required in which a graft is taken from tissue under the skin around the ear to reconstruct the eardrum. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis under local or general anesthetic.
Tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to reconstruct the eardrum when it has been badly torn or perforated. The eardrum, a membrane between the outer ear and middle ear, also known as the tympanic membrane, vibrates to assist in the hearing process. When the eardrum is damaged, hearing loss often occurs. A perforation of the eardrum may also cause severe pain, dizziness or bleeding from the ear.
Reasons For Tympanoplasty
There are several reasons a tympanoplasty may need to be performed. Occasionally, such surgery is performed to treat certain types of congenital deafness. More common reasons for this operation include injury to the tympanic membrane due to:
- Serious middle ear infection
- Insertion of an object into the ear canal
- Accidental injury during ear tube placement
- Traumatic injury
- Extreme changes in ear pressure, or barotrauma
Everyone experiences changes in ear pressure at some point, but barotrauma due to a blocked eustachian tube, may, in extreme cases, cause the eardrum to rupture. This may occur as a result of:
- Exposure to extremely loud noise
- Airplane travel
- Scuba diving
- Traveling high in the mountains
- Nasal congestion due to an upper respiratory infection or allergic reaction
While a bad ear infection may be the cause of the rupture of the tympanic membrane, the perforation will also make the ear more susceptible to infection since the eardrum serves as a protection membrane keeping germs from entering the inner ear.
Diagnosis Of Eardrum Perforation
Whenever there are symptoms of pain, discharge or bleeding from the ear, or hearing loss, a doctor should be consulted since these symptoms may be the result of eardrum perforation. Sometimes, when the eardrum is perforated, the ossicles, or small bones behind the eardrum, are broken as well. When this happens, hearing loss may be severe. Eardrum perforation is diagnosed by an examination of the ear using an instrument known as an otoscope. A hearing test may be performed to evaluate whether the patient has sustained any hearing loss.
Minor eardrum perforations often do not need any treatment, as the hole will close by itself within a few days. Antibiotics, ear drops or decongestants may help dry fluid accumulations and clear lingering infections during this process. If a perforation persists for many weeks, or if there is continued ear infection which does not respond to antibiotic treatment, surgical intervention may be necessary.