Myringoplasty - A guide to Hearing Loss

This is a form of surgery which uses a skin graft to repair a perforated ear drum.

In most cases a perforated ear drum heals by itself but if it doesn’t then it is open to the risk of further infections which can result in serious, long term damage.

Causes of a perforated ear drum

The most likely cause is that of an ear infection where infected fluid has built up behind the ear drum. This increases pressure on the ear drum which results in it splitting or tearing –known as a perforation.

The ear drum can also be damaged by the presence of a foreign body, such as a child’s toy or by pushing a cotton wool bud too deeply into the ear. Exposure to loud noise or a sudden change in air pressure within the ear can also cause this problem.

If you suffer from an ear infection then in most cases it will clear up of its own accord. But if it doesn’t or the symptoms worsen then see your GP. He/she will prescribe antibiotics if need be and will check for signs of perforation. If the perforation refuses to heal then surgery is required. This requires a one to a couple of days stay in hospital and is performed under a general anaesthetic.

The procedure

This involves the removal of a section of skin just above the air which acts as a graft. This area will then be closed with a series of dissolvable or non-dissolvable stitches that will be removed a week after surgery.

The skin graft is placed on the underside of the ear drum and secured in place with a special type of glue. This will hold the graft in place until it begins to ‘take’. The surgeon will pack the ear with gauze, soaked with antibiotics to an infection, and will wrap the ear in a cotton bandage.

If there are no complications then you will be allowed home the day after (or two days) surgery.


You can expect some mild pain and discomfort following surgery and your hearing will be impaired for the time being. Painkillers such as paracetamol can control any pain.

Avoid getting any water into yours during this time or blowing your nose if you can help it. The dressings will be removed three weeks later as part of your follow up appointment.

Conversely, if your ear drum is painful as a result of increased air pressure from an ear infection then it will need to be punctured to release this pressure.

This procedure is called a myringotomy.

Treatments : A guide to Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

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