Glossary of Terms
List of Procedures



What is Myringoplasty?

Myringoplasty is the name of the operation which repairs a hole in the ear drum.


What is Tympanoplasty?

Tympanoplasty is the name of the operation which repairs the ear drum but in addition clears the middle ear of disease. The middle ear is the space behind the ear drum and connects to the back of the nose containing three small bones called ossicles, namely the malleus, incus and stapes. These three bones together with the ear drum acts as an amplifier for sound presented to the ear. 


Reasons for repair of the ear drum


There are a number of reasons to repair a hole in the ear drum. Firstly, if there is a hole in the ear drum it causes reduced hearing. This is called a conductive hearing loss.

By repairing the ear drum the hearing can improve. A second reason to have the ear drum repaired is that it provides a dry ear.

When there is a hole in the ear drum there is a communication between the outside environment, the middle ear and subsequently into the nose. This can cause recurrent ear infections with discharge of pus via the ear. This may occur as water can enter the middle ear during times of showering, bath ing, swimming etc. Furthermore there can be entry of bacteria via the nose and resulting ear infections.


The Surgery

Myringoplasty is performed under a general anaesthetic as a day case or an overnight stay in hospital. You will come back after the operation with a big dressing over the ear which is removed the following morning. To perform the operation a cut is made either behind the ear in the shape of a hockey stick, or alternatively a small cut in front of the ear. The particular incision depends on the access at the time of the operation. Mr. Watson uses dissolving stitches to stitch up the wound. This means that no stitches need to be removed after the operation. The ear drum is made from your natural body tissue. Mr. Watson will take a piece of tissue, generally from the area where the cut is made. One such tissue is called temporalis fascia.

This tissue is a strong tissue which covers muscle. This is the whitish material which you may have seen at times covering a piece of steak you may buy at the butcher shop. It is very strong and is a good material to use for an ear drum graft. Alternative tissue used is that of the tragal cartilage which is a small piece of cartilage which helps to give the ear its shape.

A small piece of this cartilage can be used without causing any severe disfigurement to the ear. At the end of the operation Mr. Watson will pack the ear canal with a substance called either Gel Foam or BIPP. These are placed in the ear canal to prevent infection, and in the case of Gel Foam, dissolves on its own. In the case of BIPP, it will be removed when seen post operatively.


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