What is myringoplasty?
Myringoplasty is a microsurgical procedure (conducted using an operating microscope) to reconstruct the eardrum or the tympanic membrane of the ear. This procedure is mostly conducted for patients with perforated eardrums.
For this surgery, the ENT surgeon makes a cut behind the ear and harvests the graft tissue from deep under the skin that’s required to rebuild and close the eardrum. Then this harvested tissue is used to repair the eardrum and the ear is packed with gelfoam, a self absorbable material, to secure it in place. Then the surgeon bandages the ear from outside for up to 7 days. This surgery can be performed under local or general anaesthesia. It can also be performed as an endoscopy but most of the time, Indian patients’ ears are ill-suited to myringoplasty through endoscopy.
Most of the times, it is hardly noticeable. The cut behind the ear mends well and the scar too almost fades gradually.
For two reasons. One, a perforated eardrum is always at risk of catching ear infections as water can get into the middle ear during bathing, showering and swimming etc. Two, it can also bring you better hearing ability.
After the ENT surgeon has set a date for your myringoplasty, you are advised the following precautions:
- Till the preceding night of the surgery, duly take all medications prescribed to you by the ENT surgeon. Bring along any remaining medicines in original packaging when you check in for surgery the next morning. Also bring along any non-prescription medications in their original packaging that you are currently taking.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Do not eat anything at all from midnight onwards prior to the surgery day.
- Make sure you bring your hospital file with you at the time of the check-in for surgery duly including all required test reports such as the major surgical profile, audiological evaluation reports, pre- anaesthetic check up sheet, radiological investigation films and reports (X-ray, CT scan, MRI, PET scan etc.) and any others investigations advised by your ENT surgeon. We advise you to ready this file a day before the surgery.
- Shampoo your hair before the surgery day. Male patients are advised to ensure a short hair cut.
- You should be accompanied by an attendant. We advise bringing along a close family member.
- Please ensure that you report at the hospital at least three hours prior to your surgery’s scheduled timing.
- Report at the reception desk in time and the hospital staff will guide you through the next steps.
- If you have felt any changes in your physical condition such as cough, cold, fever or throat pain, be sure to mention it to your doctor and anaesthetist. If you are allergic to any drugs, be very sure to mention that as well.
Please read the following information carefully to get further clarity on the pre-operative instructions including special instructions for patients with diabetes, respiratory or cardiac problems.
First 24 hours:
- Take complete bed rest. Do not lie on the side of the operated ear.
- You are not allowed any drink or food till 4-5 hours after the surgery. After the surgical staff gives the go-ahead, you can sip water. A while later you can take milk or Horlicks etc. However, caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee or aerated drinks are to be avoided as these can cause gastric irritation when consumed on an empty stomach. You can start a semi-solid diet in moderate quantities after 12 hours. You can resume normal food from second day onwards.
Precautions from the day of discharge:
- Take all medications as prescribed by your surgeon on schedule.
- Do not oil your hair.
- Do not clean your ear.
- Stay away from people with cold or cough.
- Do not blow your nose with excessive force.
- If you have to sneeze, do so with your mouth open.
- Do not have a head bath for a full one month after the surgery. No water should get into your ear.
- Do not sleep on the operated side for a month afterwards.
- Do not undertake strenuous work for a month afterwards.
- Do not travel by air for 1 month after the surgery.
The following activities are allowed:
- A daily bath that does not wet or spoil your head bandage till the time it is on your head.
- Resumption of regular office work after 3 days of surgery (unless specially advised by your operating surgeon)
When you should contact the hospital immediately:
- If your prescription medicines cause any drug reactions such as rashes or stomach upset etc., call your doctor immediately.
- If your ear bandage becomes loose or gets soiled between days 1 and 7 i.e. from operation till suture removal, visit your doctor for a fresh bandage.
Precautions after suture removal:
- Strictly follow all the dos and don’ts mentioned above.
- Change the cotton outside the ear three times a day using the method demonstrated to you by the hospital staff.
- Clean behind your ear while bathing.
- Disregard low to moderate ear discharge as it is a normal occurrence for up to 3 months after the surgery. But keep an eye open for excessive ear discharge.
- A follow-up audiological evaluation is advised 3 months from the date of surgery.
When you should contact the hospital immediately:
- If you get any severe pain in the ear or surrounding region
- If you get any swelling in or around the ear
- If you feel dizzy or are vomiting
- If you feel facial weakness
- If your ear is oozing excessive discharge
Timeline for specific activity resumption:
- Head bath: 1 month after surgery
- Office work/ housework: 3 days from date of surgery (your ear bandage will stay on for 7 days)
- Air travel: 1 month after surgery
- Swimming and other water activities: 3 months after surgery
Myringoplasty conducted by an expert surgeon delivers very successful outcomes.