Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

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.

You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.

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).

A perforated eardrum 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 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 lift your eardrum and place the graft underneath it and support it with a dissolving sponge. They will put your eardrum back.

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • unsightly scarring
  • blood clots

Specific complications

  • failure of the graft
  • numbness of your ear
  • loss of hearing
  • tinnitus
  • change of taste
  • allergic reaction

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.

Your surgeon will tell you when you can return to normal activities. You should be able to return to work after about 2 weeks.

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.

You will need to come back after 2 to 3 weeks to have the pack removed and to check the graft.

Summary

A perforated eardrum is a common problem. 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.

Last reviewed: September 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Eardrum perforation - perforated eardrum

Eardrum perforation can be caused by infection, a blow to the ear, injury from an object inserted in the ear, or exposure to a sudden loud noise.

Read more on myDr website

Ears - otosclerosis - Better Health Channel

Otosclerosis eventually affects both ears, but the condition doesn?t cause total deafness.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Otosclerosis | myVMC

Otosclerosis is a relatively common cause of hearing loss and may run in families

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Middle ear infection or otitis media | Raising Children Network

Children with middle ear infections usually have pain or discomfort in the ear. If you think your child has a middle ear infection, its wise to see a GP.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Ear infections

It is estimated that around four out of five children will experience a middle ear infection at least once.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Hearing loss | Garvan Institute of Medical Research

In Australia, it is estimated that over 20% of the adult population suffer from hearing loss. Read about Garvan's research and studies of multiple forms of hearing loss.

Read more on Garvan Institute of Medical Research website

Ear health (preventing ear problems) information video | myVMC

Ear health or ear care can prevent ear problems like ear infections, swimmer's ear and hearing loss. Avoiding cotton buds is important for healthy ears.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Deafness - a range of causes - Better Health Channel

Deafness is caused by many different events including injury, disease and genetic defects.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo