myringoplasty header

Information about this procedure is listed under the following headings:

Why do I need this operation?

What are the intended benefits of the surgery?

How is the surgery performed?

What are the potential risks and how great are these risks?

What am I to expect after the operation?

How long will I be off work/school?

Frequently asked Questions

Why do I need this operation?

A myringoplasty is performed to close a hole (perforation) in the ear drum.

What are the intended benefits of the surgery?

Closing the perforation will provide one or more of the following benefits:

1) Fewer ear infections.

2) The freedom to get the ear wet.

3) Improved hearing.

How is the surgery performed?

The ear drum may be approached by two different routes. Reaching the drum through the ear canal may be possible in some circumstances, but many operations require a post-aural approach. This involves making a cut behind the ear and flipping it forward. Tissue is taken from another cut behind the ear and made into a graft. The hole is then prepared and the graft slipped behind the drum to cover the perforation. The ear is packed with antiseptic ribbon.

What are the potential risks?

1) Graft failure - sometimes, the graft will not be successful in making the ear drum heal.This occurs in 20-30% of the cases.

2) Infection - both the wound and the ear may become infected.

3) Scar - there will be a small scar behind the ear.

Rare (<1% chance) complications:
4) Loss of hearing - it is a very rare compliction that hearing may be damaged, reduced or lost entirely in that ear.

5) Tinnitus - there is a very small chance you may be left with a ringing noise in your ear.

6) You may experience an alteration in the taste of food or notice a metallic taste in your mouth. This can be temporary or permanent.

What am I to expect after the operation?

You will wear a headbandage overnight. This is removed the morning following the operation. There is little pain associated with this operation. The packing will be removed in clinic in two weeks. Before this, you will not hear much on you operated ear.

How long will I be off work / school?

Two weeks off work is advised. A medical certificate will be provided.

Frequently asked Questions

When can I get the ear wet?

It is important to keep the ear dry until given the all clear by one of the ENT doctors.

Can I fly in an aeroplane after this operation?

Flying is very risky at the early stages. Avoid flying until you have been told that your graft is healthy and healed.


Last updated: 23 October 2004