Perforated eardrum repair

Myringoplasty | Tympanoplasty

Surgery to treat a hole in the eardrum that won't heal on its own is known as myringoplasty or tympanoplasty


A perforated eardrum is usually caused by infection. It can also be caused by sudden changes in air pressure, trauma, or sudden very loud noises. Usually it will heal on its own but if it won't, you may need surgery. The main reasons for surgery are repeated infections or hearing loss.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    This operation is done under general anaesthetic (which mean you'll be asleep) or local anaesthetic (which blocks pain in the area). During this procedure, a piece of tissue is taken from near the ear and grafted in place under the perforation. It may be carried out down the ear canal or through a small cut in front of or behind the ear. You may have some stitches following surgery. You may have a head bandage for one or two days, and usually your ear canal will be packed with gauze for a couple of weeks.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    A perforation in an eardrum may heal spontaneously but it could result in repeat infections and hearing loss. Your ear should be completely free of infection prior to surgery. Your consultant will let you know how to prepare before surgery. If you're having general anaesthetic, your consultant will tell you how long you should avoid eating and drinking beforehand.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    The surgery is usually carried out as a day case so you won't need to stay in hospital overnight. You may need to take a week or longer off work (or, if your child is having the treatment, a week off school). You may have some discomfort and some loss of hearing while the dressings are in place. The discomfort can be managed with prescription painkillers or paracetomal. You'll need to avoid blowing your nose too vigorously or getting water in your ears for the first few weeks after surgery, but your surgeon will let you know before your operation what to expect. Your consultant will let you know when you can get back to your usual routine.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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