What is Eardrum Repair Surgery?

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

September 24, 2021 Lifestyle Diseases 491 Views

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What is the meaning of Eardrum Repair Surgery?

Eardrum repair surgery is a procedure done to fix a tear or a hole in the eardrum. The surgery can also be performed to replace or repair the three tiny bones (malleus, incus, and stapes) present behind the eardrum.

The eardrum (also known as the tympanic membrane) is a thin membrane present between the outer ear and the middle ear that vibrates when hit by sound waves. Damage to the eardrum or the bones of the middle ear can affect a person’s hearing ability and increase the risk of ear infections and eardrum surgery may be required for the treatment of such conditions.

In today’s article, we are going to discuss in detail eardrum surgery.

  • What is the purpose of Eardrum Repair Surgery?
  • What are the symptoms that need Eardrum Repair Surgery?
  • What are the diagnostic tests for Eardrum Repair Surgery?
  • What is the preparation before Eardrum Repair Surgery?
  • What is the procedure of Eardrum Repair Surgery?
  • What are the steps of care after Eardrum Repair Surgery?
  • What are the risks of Eardrum Repair Surgery?
  • How to minimize the risks of Eardrum Repair Surgery?
  • What is the cost of Eardrum Repair Surgery in India?

What is the purpose of Eardrum Repair Surgery?

Eardrum surgery is performed when your eardrum has been perforated or damaged, hearing is reduced, or when there are suspected ear infections.

The suspected causes which cause the formation of holes in the eardrum, and indicate the need of undergoing eardrum repair surgery include:

  • A severe ear infection causing the eardrum to burst
  • Injury or trauma, such as puncturing the eardrum with a cotton swab or a bobby pin ( Know more about- What is Brain Injury? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment)
  • Dysfunctional eustachian tube (a thin passage connecting the throat and the middle ear) ( Know more about- What are Thyroid Disorders? Symptoms, Tests, Treatment )
  • Surgery for the placement of ear tubes (hollow cylinders that are surgically placed into the eardrums)
  • A growth behind or within the eardrum (known as cholesteatoma)
  • Loud noise caused due to an explosion

In most cases, the eardrum repairs itself. However, severe cases may require surgery.

What are the symptoms that need Eardrum Repair Surgery?

Eardrum surgery may be recommended based on the following symptoms:

What are the diagnostic tests for Eardrum Repair Surgery?

The doctor will first physically examine the patient and take the complete medical history of the patient. The doctor will then order the following diagnostic tests before doing an eardrum repair surgery:

  • Laboratory tests: Laboratory tests are done to examine discharge from the ear under a microscope in case of an infection and detect the presence of bacteria or other organisms.
  • Tuning fork evaluation: Tuning forks are two-pronged metal instruments that produce sound on being stuck. This test is necessary to find out which part of the ear is damaged – the inner ear or the middle ear.
  • Tympanometry: It is a test to detect the response of the eardrum to changes in pressure and, therefore, can detect abnormalities in the functioning of the middle ear.
  • Audiology exam: The doctor may also conduct audiology tests to assess hearing loss.

What is the preparation before Eardrum Repair Surgery?

  • The patient should inform the doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions he may be having.
  • Any medications or supplements the patient is taking should be reported to the doctor.
  • The doctor may advise the patient to stop taking certain medications, like blood-thinners (eg. aspirin and warfarin) a few days before the surgery to prevent excessive bleeding during surgery.
  • It is advisable to stop smoking at least two weeks before the surgery.
  • The patient is instructed to not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before the surgery.

What is the procedure of Eardrum Repair Surgery?

There are two basic methods of performing eardrum surgery:

Myringoplasty:

  • If the hole in the eardrum is small, the doctor first tries to patch the hole with a gel or a paper-thin tissue. This material usually dissolves completely in 2 to 3 months.
  • The procedure takes about 15 to 30 minutes and is performed under local anesthesia.

Tympanoplasty

  • This procedure is performed if the hole in the eardrum is large or the patient suffers from a chronic (long-term) ear infection that cannot be treated by antibiotics.
  • This surgery is performed under general anesthesia so that the patient is unconscious during the procedure.
  • A laser or micro-hook is first used to remove any extra folds of tissue or scar tissue around the middle ear.
  • A small piece of the patient’s own tissue taken from the back of the ear or some lobe of the skin is then grafted onto the eardrum close to the hole.
  • The surgeon either goes through the ear canal for repairing the eardrum or makes a small incision behind the ear to access the eardrum.
  • The incision made in the ear is closed using sutures (stitches).
  • The procedure takes about two to three hours to complete.

Ossiculoplasty is a procedure that can be performed along with eardrum surgery. It is performed under general anesthesia when the three bones of the middle ear (called ossicles) are damaged due to trauma or ear infections. The bones are replaced by bones from a donor, or by use of artificial prosthetic devices.

What are the steps of care after Eardrum Surgery?

The period post-operation is almost as important as that under the surgeon’s knife. Care must be taken to see that the modifications made to the eardrum are maintained and show healthy healing.

It may take at least a week for a patient to recover after eardrum surgery.

The following steps are to be followed for faster and uneventful healing-

  • The doctor may give ear packs to the patient to protect the ears.
  • Change the cotton of the ear pack regularly to maintain hygienic conditions.
  • Patients are advised not to swim after surgery.
  • Water should not enter the ear, therefore, wear a shower cap while taking a shower.
  • After surgery, avoid those activities that can cause changes in the ear pressure, such as scuba diving, going to high altitudes, or traveling in a flight until complete recovery.
  • Children are advised one week off school to avoid ear damage and stress.

Ear pain and soreness are commonly experienced after surgery. The symptoms are short-lived and disappear by 3-5 days after surgery. Pain during this period can be relieved using painkillers.

If you experience any complications after the surgery, it is necessary to contact the doctor immediately.

What are the risks of Eardrum Repair Surgery?

Every surgical procedure involves some risks. Similarly, eardrum surgery may include the following risks:

  • Ear infection
  • Bleeding
  • Allergic reactions and intolerance to anesthesia
  • Permanent loss of hearing
  • Damage to the nerves near the ear 
  • Loss of taste due to facial nerve damage
  • The eardrum hole may not heal
  • Damage to the bones inside the ear
  • Dizziness ( Know more about- What is Dizziness ? Home remedies for Dizziness )
  • Persistent vomiting

It must however be noted that severe complications are very rare and eardrum surgery is a relatively safe procedure.

How do minimize the risks of Eardrum Surgery?

  • Keep the ear canal clean and dry and avoid exposure to moisture for at least 3-week post-surgery.
  • During normal activities, your doctor may suggest keeping a cotton ball in your ear.
  • The cotton ball in the ear would have to be replaced at periodic intervals, especially if the ear has discharge or bleeding.
  • Special care must be taken to ensure that water doesn’t enter the ear whilst bathing. This may be prevented by the application of petroleum jelly or by wearing a shower cap.
  • Avoid the swimming pool until the doctor advises you to do so.
  • Avoid traveling by air until your doctor gives permission for the same.
  • Do not blow your nose or pop your ears. If you need to sneeze, do it with your mouth open.

What is the cost of Eardrum Repair Surgery in India?

The total cost of Eardrum Repair Surgery in India can range from around INR 20,000 to INR 30,000. However, many prominent hospitals and doctors in India specialize in eardrum surgery. But the cost varies across different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, apart from the cost of eardrum repair surgery, there will be an additional cost of living in a hotel and the cost of local travel. After surgery, the patient is kept for two days in the hospital and five days in the hotel for recovery. So, the total cost of Eardrum Repair Surgery in India comes to be around INR 30,000 to INR 50,000. 

We hope that we could answer all your questions regarding Eardrum Surgery through this article.

If you need more information and treatment for Eardrum Surgery, you can contact an ENT specialist.

We only aim to provide you with information through this article. We do not recommend any medication or treatment to anyone. Only a qualified doctor can give you good advice and the correct treatment plan.

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