Myringoplasty

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What is a myringoplasty?

A myringoplasty is an operation to repair a hole in your eardrum.

A perforation is usually caused by an infection in your middle ear that bursts through your eardrum. It can also be caused by trauma (for example, being hit across your ear or by placing an object in your ear).

Often a perforated eardrum does not cause any problems but it can lead to repeated ear infections and poorer hearing.

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should have less risk of repeated ear infections and your hearing may improve.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Keeping your ear dry by placing cotton wool and Vaseline in your ear when bathing or washing your hair may prevent infection.

An infection can be treated with antibiotics and a trained healthcare practitioner can clean your ear.

A hearing aid can improve poor hearing but can also lead to more infections.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but a local anaesthetic can be used. The operation usually takes an hour to 90 minutes.

Your surgeon will need to use a graft (piece of tissue) to cover the hole.

Your surgeon will place the graft through a cut made either in front of or behind your ear, or inside your ear canal. They will usually lift your eardrum, place the graft underneath and support it with a dissolving sponge. They will put your eardrum back.

How soon will I recover?

If a head bandage has been used, it will usually be removed after 3 to 4 hours.

You should be able to go home that day.

You should be able to return to work after about 2 weeks.

Protect your ear from water using cotton wool and Vaseline, and do not swim until your surgeon has told you that the graft has worked.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a good recovery. You will need to come back after 2 to 3 weeks to have the pack removed and to check the graft.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Blood clot in your leg
  • Blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

  • Failure of the graft
  • Numbness of your ear
  • Loss of hearing
  • Tinnitus (ringing in your ear)
  • Change of taste
  • Allergic reaction to the pack material
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice your healthcare team gives you. This information is published under license from EIDO Healthcare UK and is protected by copyright. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print, download or otherwise reproduce it.

A myringoplasty can prevent infections and sometimes improve your hearing.

What to do next
  1. Talk to us about ways to pay, either insured or self-pay, and find out if you need a referral from your doctor.
  2. If you need one, ask your doctor for a referral letter.
  3. Call us to book an appointment with a consultant.
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