Eardrum Perforation Repair / Tympanoplasty
Tympanoplasty is the surgical reconstruction of a damaged eardrum to restore hearing or to prevent recurrent middle ear infections. Perforations of the eardrum occur from infection or trauma to the eardrum. The tympanoplasty is usually minimally invasive and performed either through the ear canal or through a small incision behind the ear and can sometimes involve a graft of tissue taken from the fat or connective tissue that surrounds the ear.
Eardrum Perforation Treatments
In-Office Paper Patch Placement
Small holes in the eardrum, also called the tympanic membrane, may be treated in the office with a procedure called a paper patch myringoplasty. While some perforations in the eardrum heal naturally, those that show no signs of closing after about 3 months become candidates for myringoplasty. The “paper patch” of the procedure’s name is a literal reflection on how the treatment proceeds. A small piece of special paper placed over the perforation encourages natural healing of the hole. Other variations of myringoplasty may now use a gel foam or some fat taken from the patient’s ear to serve as the temporary patch.
For more serious eardrum repairs, tympanoplasty augments the tissue of the eardrum with a transplant of tissue from another part of the body. Depending on the nature of the repair, the augmenting tissue may be placed on the outer side of the eardrum, through the ear canal, or it may be placed behind the eardrum through an incision made behind the ear. The tissue used is typically fascia or perichondrium, support tissues taken from under the skin. Surgery often includes special packing to support the new tissue behind the ear during healing. The packing dissolves naturally over the next few months. Packing may also be placed in the ear canal, in front of the ear drum repair.