Tympanoplasty is surgery to treat ruptured eardrums. If you have a ruptured eardrum, you have a hole in your eardrum that affects your ability to hear. Your healthcare provider may treat your ruptured eardrum with ear drops or antibiotics. If your eardrum doesn’t heal, your provider may perform tympanoplasty, accessing your eardrum and patching the hole.
Tympanoplasty is surgery to treat ruptured eardrums. Your eardrum (tympanic membrane) is the tissue separating your ear canal and your middle ear. When you rupture your eardrum, there’s a hole in your eardrum tissue. This hole keeps your eardrum from vibrating, which can affect your hearing.
Many times your healthcare provider will treat your ruptured eardrum with ear drops or antibiotics. But if your eardrum doesn’t heal after two or three months, you may need tympanoplasty surgery to prevent problems like hearing loss, chronic infections and dizziness.
Healthcare providers perform tympanoplasty surgery by accessing your eardrum and patching the hole. Studies show tympanoplasty surgery successfully treats ruptured eardrums in 93% of people who have the surgery.
Your eardrum can rupture if:
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Before surgery, your healthcare provider will examine your middle ear and hearing. Here are some steps they may take:
Your healthcare provider will use this information to decide which tympanoplasty technique is best for your situation.
All tympanoplasties involve patching your ruptured eardrum. The techniques differ in how your healthcare provider reaches your middle ear to repair your eardrum. Here is information on each technique:
Yes, tympanoplasty is major surgery because you’re usually given general anesthesia.
Your healthcare provider may provide antibiotics to reduce the chance you’ll develop an infection. They may also shave your hair around your ear.
Tympanoplasties are completed in steps, starting with obtaining tissue to patch the hole in your eardrum. (Providers may also patch the hole with a piece of synthetic material that integrates with your body.) Here is more information on the specific steps:
You’ll likely go home after the surgery. However your healthcare provider may recommend you stay at the hospital for a night so they can watch for complications.
Tympanoplasty repairs your damaged eardrum, reducing the chance you will lose your hearing or have long-term problems with chronic infections.
Tympanoplasty complications are rare. The most common complications are graft failure, meaning your eardrum patch doesn’t solve the problem, your eardrum develops another hole during surgery, or your hearing is worse.
Studies show tympanoplasty is successful in treating 93% of people.
It can take 10 days to two weeks for you to recover from tympanoplasty. Plan on taking it easy during that time. Your healthcare provider will have at-home instructions for you to follow. Here are some general recommendations:
You may have some moderate pain for the first few days after your surgery. Most people can manage any pain with over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication.
You should see your provider about two weeks after surgery. They’ll examine your eardrum to see how it’s healing. They may do follow-up hearing tests.
While most people don’t have post-surgery problems, you should contact your provider if you notice the following problems:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Anyone can rupture an eardrum. All it takes is going too deep —or with too much enthusiasm — when you clean your ears. Your eardrum can rupture if you develop a middle ear infection or you develop airplane ear. Many times your ruptured eardrum will heal on its own. But when it doesn’t, you may need tympanoplasty surgery so you don’t develop hearing loss, vertigo or dizziness. Being able to hear keeps you connected to your world. If you have a ruptured eardrum, ask your healthcare provider if surgery may be the solution.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/01/2022.
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