What is a myringoplasty?
A myringoplasty is an operation to repair a hole (perforation) 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.
What will happen if I decide not to have the operation or the operation is delayed?
Ear infections may continue and will cause your hearing to get worse.
Infection can spread either to the bone behind your ear, causing mastoiditis (risk: 7 in 10,000), or to your brain, causing meningitis or a brain abscess (risk: 1 in 10,000).
Contact your healthcare team if you experience:
- discharge from the affected ear
What does the operation involve?
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 can I prepare myself for the operation?
If you smoke, stopping smoking now may reduce your risk of developing complications and will improve your long-term health.
Try to maintain a healthy weight. You have a higher risk of developing complications if you are overweight.
Regular exercise should help to prepare you for the operation, help you to recover and improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
Speak to the healthcare team about any vaccinations you might need to reduce your risk of serious illness while you recover. When you come into hospital, practise hand washing and wear a face covering when asked.
What complications can occur?
Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.
General complications of any operation
- infection of the surgical site (wound)
- allergic reaction to the equipment, materials or medication
- venous thromboembolism (VTE)
- chest infection
Possible complications specific to 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 packing material used
Consequences of this procedure
- unsightly scarring of your skin
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 sooner. 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.
A myringoplasty can prevent infections and sometimes improve your hearing.IMPORTANT INFORMATION
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Last reviewed: September 2023