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Myringoplasty

3-minute read

This page will give you information about a myringoplasty. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

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?

Illustration showing an eardrum.
A myringoplasty can repair a hole in the eardrum.

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 does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but a local anaesthetic can be used. The operation usually takes between 1 hour and 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.

What complications can occur?

Some of these 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 the leg
  • blood clot in the lung

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

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.

Summary

A myringoplasty can prevent infections and sometimes improve your hearing.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2019


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