Tests and treatments
Closing a perforated eardrum
When is it indicated?
The closing of a perforation of the eardrum is referred to as a 'tympanoplasty'. Surgery for a perforation of the eardrum is indicated when:
- there is hearing loss
- the patient would like to swim without earplugs
- and definitely if the patient has had recurrent infections
For children, we do this starting at the age of 8.
A tympanoplasty is a routine procedure that is almost always performed on an outpatient basis. A small incision is made behind the ear to take a small slice of the muscle (fascia). This thin, but strong, piece of fascia is pushed under the perforation and adheres to it tightly. Over the course of four weeks, the eardrum grows over this piece of fascia until the fascia disappears (that is actually just dead material). Although this is generally referred to as an 'eardrum transplant', it does not actually use any material from the patient. It is at times necessary to repair auditory bones, for example, to introduce a small prosthesis into the middle ear.
Guidelines for at home
Patients wear a bandage for four days and usually come in three times for a check-up. Recovery usually takes anywhere between four and six weeks. You may not do sports, perform heavy duty work or fly in an airplane for three weeks. You may not swim for one month.
The probability of a good result after this routine intervention is high and the risks are limited.
Centres and specialist areas
Latest publication date: 13/04/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vermeiren Judith