Tympanoplasty

Tympanoplasty

Tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure to repair a perforation in the tympanic membrane (eardrum). This procedure is performed to prevent reinfection and restore hearing ability.

Ruptured or perforated eardrum

The tympanic membrane separates the ear canal from the middle ear. Perforation or rupture of the eardrum can cause hearing loss. Recurrent or prolonged otitis media (middle ear infection) can lead to perforation. In most cases, the perforation heals itself within two weeks. However, sometimes it requires surgery to repair the eardrum when it doesn’t heal itself.

Symptoms

  • Ear pain
  • Ear discharge
  • Sudden hearing loss or muffled hearing
  • Itching in the ear
  • Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in ears)
  • Vertigo (spinning sensation)
  • Nausea or vomiting due to vertigo

Causes

  • Recurrent middle ear infections
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Traumatic injuries due to inserting objects such as cotton swabs into the ear
  • Head trauma

Complications

A perforated eardrum can result in chronic hearing loss (permanent in some cases). It also makes the middle and inner ear susceptible to infections. Middle ear polyps are also formed in some cases if the perforated eardrum is left untreated.

Diagnosis

An ENT specialist generally inspects the ear using an otoscope (a device used to visualize and examine the ear canal and eardrum). A culture test is performed if there is any discharge from the ear. A tuning fork evaluation is performed to detect hearing loss. A test called tympanometry is performed to evaluate the condition of the eardrum.

Surgery

Tympanoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed using a microscope/endoscope. It is performed by making a small incision behind the ear to access the eardrum. A part or most of the eardrum is removed based on the extent of inflammation. A graft is used to create a new eardrum. This procedure may take around 1.5 to 2 hours. You will be provided a set of instructions about home care after the surgery.

FAQs

1. Does tympanoplasty improve hearing?
Most of the patients who have undergone successful tympanoplasty restore their hearing ability within shorter periods after the eardrum heals completely.

2. What are the risks associated with tympanoplasty?
Tympanoplasty with an endoscopic approach has minimal complications. It has favorable clinical outcomes such as less post-operative pain and faster recovery compared to the traditional approach.

3. Do ruptured eardrums bleed?
Watery or bloody discharge may be seen from the ruptured eardrum. In general, bleeding occurs when there is a middle ear infection. It is recommended to consult an ENT specialist immediately if you notice any discharge or persistent pain in the ear.

4. Does a ruptured eardrum cause hearing loss?
A ruptured eardrum can cause sudden hearing loss or slightly muffled hearing. The middle ear is also prone to infections in case of a ruptured or perforated eardrum.

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