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 the eardrum.
A perforation is usually caused by an infection in the middle ear that bursts through the 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?
Your child should have less risk of repeated ear infections and their hearing may improve.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Keeping your child's ear dry by placing cotton wool and Vaseline in the ear when bathing or washing their hair may prevent infection.
An infection can be treated with antibiotics and a trained healthcare practitioner can clean the ear.
A hearing aid can improve poor hearing.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and 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 the ear, or inside the ear canal. They will lift the eardrum and place the graft underneath it and support it with a dissolving sponge. They will put the eardrum back.
What complications can happen?
- infection of the surgical site (wound)
- unsightly scarring
- failure of the graft
- numbness of the ear
- loss of hearing
- change of taste
- allergic reaction
How soon will my child recover?
Your child may be able to go home the same day. If a head bandage has been used, it will be removed the next morning and your child should be able to go home that day.
Your surgeon will tell you when your child can return to normal activities. Your child should be able to return to school after about 2 weeks.
Protect the ear from water, and do not let your child swim until your surgeon has told you that the graft has worked.
A perforated eardrum is a common problem. A myringoplasty can prevent infections and sometimes improve your child's hearing.
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.
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Last reviewed: September 2018