Myringoplasty is a procedure to repair a hole in the ear drum. It can be performed through the ear canal alone (transcanal), with an incision in the front of the ear (endaural) or with an incision behind the ear (postauricular). The graft is placed underneath the ear drum, usually by lifting the ear drum, and supported with a dissolving dressing.

What to expect

The hearing will be poor for at least a few weeks after the surgery. You may experience some popping in the ear particularly with swallowing – this isn’t a problem, but you need to avoid actively popping the ear as the graft can become dislodged.

You may have a bandage around your head which is removed the next morning.

Pain isn’t usually severe and can be generally be managed with simple pain medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.

You will usually be seen in the rooms after 2-3 weeks and any remaining packing in the ear canal removed.

The ear takes about 6 weeks to fully heal and until then you need to keep the ear dry and avoid popping the ear – avoid nose blowing and if you have to sneeze, keep your mouth open. Flying should also be avoided during this time.

What are the risks?

Failure – the risk of failure is generally around 5-10%, but can be higher in certain circumstances – your ENT surgeon will discuss this with you. In most cases repeat surgery is an option.

Infection of the wound or hypertrophic or keloid scar.

Cholesteatoma – rarely, skin from the outside surface of the drum can enter the middle ear and cause a cholesteatoma.

Tinnitus (ringing in the ear) or imbalance can occur, which can be temporary or permanent.

Failure to improve hearing – hearing doesn’t always improve, even when the hole is successfully repaired.

Hearing loss – partial or complete loss of hearing can rarely occur.

Altered sensation of taste on one side of the tongue can occur.

Altered sensation or appearance of the ear - mainly postauricular approach.