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 (child)

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 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?

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

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?

General complications

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

Specific complications

  • failure of the graft
  • numbness of the ear
  • loss of hearing
  • tinnitus
  • 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.

Summary

A perforated eardrum is a common problem. A myringoplasty can prevent infections and sometimes improve your child's 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

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