What is Tympanoplasty?
When the eardrum has been torn or perforated due to trauma or other factors, a Tympanoplasty is usually required. Tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure used to reconstruct the membrane between the middle and outer ear, also known as the eardrum or tympanic membrane. When the eardrum is torn or perforated it often causes severe pain, dizziness or bleeding. Dr. Daneshrad specializes in the Tympanoplasty surgery and has offices in Santa Monica and Torrence, CA.
Why do I need a Tympanoplasty?
A tympanoplasty may need to be performed for a number of reasons. Occasionally, tympanoplasty is performed to treat certain types of congenital deafness, however, more common reasons include injury caused by:
- Serious middle ear infection
- Insertion of an object into the ear canal
- Accidental injury during ear tube placement
- Traumatic injury
- Extreme changes in ear pressure, or barotrauma
Changes in ear pressure or “poping” your ears is something that everyone experiences at some point, but barotrauma caused by a blocked eustachian tube, in extreme cases, can cause the eardrum to rupture. This could be a result of:
- Exposure to extremely loud noise
- Airplane travel
- Scuba diving
- Traveling high in the mountains
- Nasal congestion due to an upper respiratory infection or allergic reaction
While a severve ear infection may cause the tympanic membrane to rupture, perforation may also make the ear more susceptible to infection since the eardrum serves as a shield to keep germs from entering the inner ear.
How is Eardrum Perforation diagnosed?
With instances of ear of pain, discharge, bleeding, or hearing loss, Dr. Daneshrad in Torrence and Santa Monica, CA should be consulted. These symptoms may be the result of eardrum perforation and if left untreated can cause serious damage to the inner ear. Many times when the eardrum is perforated, the small bones behind the eardrum, or ossicles, break as well. When this happens, hearing loss may become severe. Dr. Daneshrad is able to diagnose an eardrum perforation by an examination of the ear using an instrument known as an otoscope. Dr. Daneshrad may also perform a hearing test to evaluate whether or not any hearing loss has occurred.
Minor perforations of the tympanic membrane often do not need any treatment, as the hole will close by itself within a few days. Perscribed antibiotics, ear drops or decongestants may help dry fluid accumulations and clear lingering infections during this process of healing. If a perforation persists for more than a few weeks, or if there is a lingering ear infection which does not respond to treatment, a surgical intervention may be necessary.
There are actually a number of different surgical procedures that may be done to repair the eardrum depending on what is best for the patient. After your examination with Dr. Daneshrad, he will be able to assess what procedure will be best for you. All of these surgical options involve making an incision behind the ear or inside the ear canal and cleaning out any infected or dead tissue from the site. If issue is just a small hole in the eardrum, Dr. Daneshrad may be able to perform a lesser procedure, called a myringoplasty, which involves placing special paper or gel over the damaged area. This treatment option typically lasts half an hour or less to perform. If a full tympanoplasty is necessary, a patch will be placed on the eardrum using a piece of your own tissue, usually taken from elsewhere on the ear. A full Tympanoplasty usually takes 2 to 3 hours. After the procedure, the skin of the eardrum will grow over the repair over time.
In some cases, when the eardrum is perforated, often with children, there may be fractures of the ossicles or small bones of the inner ear, as well. When this occurs, the broken bones must be removed, repaired or replaced. If this is the case, this surgery, also called ossuculoplasty, or ossicular reconstruction, it is often performed at the same time as the tympanoplasty.
Tympanoplasty is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning patients are able to return home later the same day.
Risks Of Tympanoplasty
While a tympanoplasty is considered a safe and effective procedure, like any type of surgery, there are risks. These risks may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Breathing problems
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Hearing loss
- Facial nerve injury
These complications are considered rare and are minimized by having an experienced and skilled surgeon like Dr. Daneshrad perform the procedure.
Recovery From Tympanoplasty
For a few days after a tympanoplasty, the patient will experience some soreness and ear pain which may be treated with pain medication. Some drainage from the ear may also occur. These symptoms usually subside quickly. Patients must be careful to keep the ear clean and dry after surgery in order for the eardrum to heal properly and lessen the risk of infection. For the first week after surgery, packing is usually kept in the ear and sometimes a dressing covers the outer ear as well.
The symptoms experienced before the surgical procedure, such as hearing loss, usually abate quickly after the tympanoplasty procedure. During the period immediately following a tympanoplasty, patients should refrain strong nose blowing, swimming and air travel and try to avoid crowds in an effort to avoid respiratory infections.