Tympanoplasty in Tampa and Spring Hill, FL
Tympanoplasty is a procedure that repairs perforated eardrums. As you consider your options for the procedure, you should choose a qualified ENT specialist, such as the board-certified Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeons of Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists, serving the Tampa, Spring Hill and surrounding areas in Florida.
What is an Eardrum Perforation?
Eardrum perforation is a hole in the eardrum that is typically the result of a middle ear infection. It can also be caused by a sudden change in pressure due to a loud noise, flying in an airplane, or from an object being placed in the ear. If an object penetrates the eardrum, it also sometimes results in the fracturing of small bones within the inner ear called ossicles. Eardrum perforation most frequently affects children, as they tend to get more ear infections than adults.
Eardrum perforation is extremely painful and can cause hearing loss and bleeding from the ear. If the ossicles are broken, then hearing loss can be serious. To diagnose a perforation, a doctor uses a special instrument called an otoscope to look into the ear. If hearing loss is suspected, then a hearing test may be administered.
Treatment For Eardrum Perforation
If the perforation is minor, then treatment is typically not necessary because the hole will close on its own within a few days. If an infection is lingering, then medication or ear drops may be prescribed to help clear it up before the hole closes. If it has been more than three months since the infection healed and the perforation is still not closed, then your doctor may consider fixing the hole through surgical treatment.
The reconstructive procedure performed to repair torn tympanic membranes or ossicles is called tympanoplasty. Tympanoplasty helps restore hearing, prevent middle ear infections and even treats some types of deafness. After taking into consideration your history of infections, age, overall health and certain other factors, your doctor will decide whether or not tympanoplasty is the right choice for you.
During tympanoplasty, your doctor uses a patch of tissue from either the outer part of your ear or from the skin behind the ear to close the hole in the eardrum. First, an incision is made behind the ear in order to expose the eardrum. Your doctor will then thoroughly clean out the perforation. Finally, the graft tissue is cut and put over the hole to fix the eardrum. Over time, your eardrum’s normal skin will grow across where the hole was located.
A tympanoplasty procedure generally takes about one to two hours. Typically, the patient is placed under general anesthesia, but some adults who are having it done may use only a local anesthetic. For older children and adults, this surgery can be an outpatient procedure. However, it is likely that a patient will have to stay overnight in the hospital for one night following the tympanoplasty.
Recovery from Tympanoplasty
Most patients experience ear pain, ear drainage, and soreness for a few days after their tympanoplasty. These after-effects tend to go away on their own within a few days. If the pain is severe, your doctor will prescribe pain medication.
Your doctor will give you specific post-surgical instructions that will make sure your ear heals quickly without any complications. You should keep the ear clean and dry after your surgery. This will reduce the risk of infection and help it heal properly. Put a cotton ball in your ear canal, and remember to change it regularly.
The best part? After a tympanoplasty procedure, most patients will have a significant improvement in their hearing loss and other symptoms!
Bleeding, hearing loss and severe pain are all signs of eardrum perforation. If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact our Spring Hill or Tampa office to schedule an appointment with one of our ENT specialists.