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Tympanoplasty FAQs

Following are the common questions about Tympanoplasty:

  1. What does tympanoplasty mean?
  2. Why do I need tympanoplasty?
  3. What are the advantages of tympanoplasty for the perforated eardrum?
  4. What are the causes of a perforated eardrum?
  5. How do I know if I have a perforated eardrum?
  6. What are the diagnostic tests to determine perforated eardrums?
  7. What are the surgical procedures to treat a perforated eardrum?
  8. What is the duration of tympanoplasty?
  9. What are the recovery tips after the tympanoplasty surgery?
  10. What is the cost of tympanoplasty?
  11. What factors affect the cost of tympanoplasty?
  12. What are the possible complications of a perforated eardrum?
  13. Can a perforated eardrum cause loss of hearing?
  14. How can I prevent perforation of the eardrums?
  15. Is there any alternative treatment procedure apart from tympanoplasty?

Q. What does tympanoplasty mean?

A. Tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure to repair the rupture in the tympanic membrane by placing a graft in the eardrum. It is an advanced procedure that aims to restore hearing by closing the perforation.

Q. Why do I need tympanoplasty?

A. Tympanoplasty is done to correct the perforation in the eardrum. Perforation in the eardrum refers to the rupture or a tear in the thin tissue that separates the ear canal from the eardrum. A ruptured eardrum can result in hearing loss and make your middle ear vulnerable to infections. The ENT specialist will most likely recommend tympanoplasty in such cases.

Q. What are the advantages of tympanoplasty for the perforated eardrum?

A. Tympanoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to improve hearing by fixing the perforation in the eardrum. The procedure is done using small incisions which do not leave post-operative scars and prevent excessive bleeding during the surgery. Tympanoplasty also offers faster recovery with almost no complications.

Q. What are the causes of a perforated eardrum?

A. A perforated eardrum can be a result of the following conditions -

  • Barotrauma - It refers to the excess pressure exerted on the eardrum due to a change in the air pressure of the surrounding. People usually experience barotrauma during air travel or while scuba diving without gear.
  • Severe head trauma - Patients who suffer from a severe skull fracture may cause dislocation or damage in the middle and inner ear, including the eardrum.
  • Middle ear infection (otitis media) - A middle ear infection often leads to the accumulation of fluids in the middle ear, which can put pressure on the eardrum, causing it to rupture.
  • Exposure to loud sound/music - Long exposure to loud sounds such as blasts, gunshots, etc., or loud music can put pressure on the eardrum, causing a tear in your eardrum.
  • Inserting foreign items in the ear - People usually insert thin, long objects to clean the ear, but it can also cause a tear in the eardrum.

Q. How do I know if I have a perforated eardrum?

A. You may be suffering from a perforated eardrum if you are experiencing the following symptoms -

  • Ear pain that usually subsides quickly
  • Mucus like discharge from the ear
  • Spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • Regular itching in the ear
  • Partial hearing loss
  • Nausea

Q. What are the diagnostic tests to determine perforated eardrums?

A. The ENT specialist conducts several diagnostic tests to identify the extent of perforation in the eardrum. Some of the diagnostic tests include -

  • Physical examination - The doctor conducts a thorough examination to evaluate the condition of the eardrum. The specialist inserts an otoscope to get a clear view of the eardrum and check the tenderness around the ear in severe cases.
  • Tympanometry - This test is used to measure the eardrum’s response to differences in air pressure.
  • Audiology - This test detects how well the patient can hear sounds at different volumes and pitches by strictly calibrating sounds accordingly.
  • Ear discharge - The doctor may take the swab culture of the discharge to identify any infection in the ear.
  • Tuning fork - Two-prolonged metal instruments are used to produce sound by striking them to detect loss of hearing in severe cases.

Q. What are the surgical procedures to treat a perforated eardrum?

A. Tympanoplasty is considered one of the most effective treatment methods for perforated eardrums. The surgeon makes a minute incision behind the ear to repair the tympanic membrane with a graft taken from the body and repair the hole in the eardrum. The patient is under the effect of local or general anesthesia for a painless experience. It is an outpatient procedure which means the patient can go home on the same day of surgery after the doctor’s consultation.

Another surgical method includes eardrum patching where the surgeon uses a chemical on the edges of the perforation. A synthetic patch is kept around the area of the tear to seal the hole in the eardrum. The procedure may require multiple sitting if the perforation is not sealed in a single sitting.

Q. What is the duration of tympanoplasty?

A. Tympanoplasty can take anywhere between 40-60 minutes depending on the surgical expertise of the surgeon and the extent of perforation in the ear. The ENT specialist may keep you under observation for a few hours after the surgery to check for any signs of complications. Once the doctor is satisfied with the recovery, you can go home on the same day of the surgery.

Q. What are the recovery tips after the tympanoplasty surgery?

A. Tympanoplasty is a major surgery that takes around 3-4 days for the patient to return to their everyday life. However, full recovery can take 2-3 months depending on the medical condition of the patient and how strictly they follow post-operative tips. Some of the recovery tips after the surgery include -

  • Avoid blowing your nose too hard as it can put pressure on th eardrum.
  • You can put warm compresses on the ear with a light hand to reduce the ear pain and swelling.
  • Take prescribed medications by the doctor to relieve yourself of any discomfort or pain during the recovery period.
  • Avoid swimming or long shower to prevent water from entering your ear.
  • Avoid air travel immediately after the tympanoplasty.

Q. What is the cost of tympanoplasty?

A. The cost of tympanoplasty usually starts from Rs. 50,000 and can go up to Rs. 60,000. However, the overall cost can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the perforation, the medical condition of the patient, and the surgical expertise of the ENT specialist.

Q. What factors affect the cost of tympanoplasty?

A. Some of the factors that affect the cost of tympanoplasty are -

  • Selection of the hospital (private or government)
  • The expertise of the ENT surgeon
  • The consultation fee of the surgeon
  • Cost of anesthesiologist
  • Medication cost
  • Insurance coverage

Q. What are the possible complications of a perforated eardrum?

A. Possible complications of a perforated eardrum include -

  • Loss of hearing
  • Middle ear infection
  • Middle ear cyst (cholesteatoma)
  • Bleeding from the ear
  • Yellow discharge from the ear

Q. Can a perforated eardrum cause loss of hearing?

A. Yes, a prolonged perforated eardrum can cause loss of hearing due to rupture in the eardrum. The perforation makes the ear vulnerable to infection and prolonging the treatment can cause partial or complete hearing loss.

Q. How can I prevent perforation of the eardrums?

A. You can prevent perforation of the eardrum by the following methods -

  • Getting the treatment for middle ear infection
  • Protecting the ears during the flight
  • Keep your ears free of any foreign objects
  • Avoid exposure to loud sounds or music for a long time
  • Use a piece of cloth for warm compresses to ease the pain in the ear
  • Wear a shower cap while bathing to keep water from entering the ear
  • Use earplugs to avoid any further harm to the eardrum

Q. Is there any alternative treatment procedure apart from tympanoplasty?

A. There are some non-surgical methods that can prove effective in managing the symptoms of a perforated eardrum. However, these are not the permanent cure for the perforated eardrums. The doctor usually recommends antibiotic ear drops that can effectively manage the symptoms of minor perforation. These ear drops prevent tears in the eardrum and help with the infection.