The eardrum is a thin membrane that separates the middle and outer ear cavities.  It is part of the mechanism to amplify sound in the middle ear.  In some people it can be perforated by accident or by an infection.  Most perforations heal by themselves but surgery may be required if they do not heal.

What is myringoplasty?

Myringoplasty is an operation that we can perform to try to close the perforation in the eardrum. 

Why have myringoplasty?

If the eardrum is perforated you may suffer with decreased hearing and frequent discharge from the ear. You need to keep water out of the ear as it can enter the middle ear and cause an infection there.  If the perforation is closed you will be less likely to get infections in that ear and the hearing may improve. 

Do I have to have myringoplasty? 

We will normally observe a perforation for some time if we think it might close by itself.  If it is not closing and you are suffering with frequent ear infections then we will discuss surgery with you.  If we do not close the perforation you may have frequent infections with discharge.  Your hearing will also be affected by the hole in your eardrum. 

How is the operation done? 

You will be asleep.  A cut is made in front or behind the ear and a small amount of muscle lining is removed.  This is a graft.  The ear canal is then cut and the graft is tunnelled underneath this and placed behind the eardrum.  The edges of the perforation are roughened to encourage them to grow into the graft.  The ear is then packed with an antiseptic paste on a ribbon.  There will be some stitches used to close the cut in the skin. 

After the operation your ear will feel sore when you wake up and you will be given painkillers for this.  You may be able to go home in the evening or the day after the operation. 

The stitches behind the ear will need to be removed after one week.  This is normally done by the GP.  The pack is normally kept in for two weeks and will be removed in the ENT clinic.  We will be able to see if the ear has healed satisfactorily at this time.