(Ear Drum Repair)

An ear drum, also called a tympanic membrane, is a thin layer of tissue that vibrates with sound and provides input to the brain for sound detection. It acts as a microphone and is an important structure for hearing. The tympanic membrane may rupture due to trauma or an acute, chronic persistent, or recurring infection. This may result in a persistent perforation, which can affect hearing or may be a reason why recurring ear infections continue to occur.

Oftentimes, the perforation, or hole, may close on its own with time and an ear drop medication. However, there are times when the hole stays open and requires surgical repair.

What are the Symptoms?

The most common symptoms of a tympanic membrane perforation include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Chronic ear drainage
  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness

How is it Diagnosed?

At Century ENT, a diagnosis is obtained by performing an examination of the ear canal utilizing an otoscope or microscope. The use of a microscope within our office setting ensures superior visualization, leading to the most accurate diagnosis.

Our Century ENT specialists will likely requisition an audiogram or a hearing test. This helps to corroborate the diagnosis and gauge the extent of hearing loss attributable to the perforation. Our comprehensive approach ensures precise diagnostics and effective treatment planning.

Treatments Options Available

Tympanoplasty is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia at Century ENT, designed to close the perforation by placing a graft over or under the hole. Over time, the graft seamlessly integrates or adheres to the natural eardrum.

Our team is adept at performing various types of tympanoplasty surgeries, which include:

Patch Tympanoplasty

A minor procedure in which a small patch is placed over the hole in the eardrum. The procedure can be completed in just a few minutes.

Fat Tympanoplasty

For this procedure, the ear lobe is frozen so that a small amount of fat tissue can be removed. The fat tissue is then placed through the hole in the eardrum and the earlobe is sutured closed. This surgery typically can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.

Medial Tympanoplasty

This procedure is slightly more complicated than patch or fat tympanoplasty surgeries and generally takes anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour to complete. During this procedure, the eardrum is accessed either through an incision in the ear canal or from behind the ear. Then the eardrum is lifted and a tissue graft is placed under it.

Lateral Tympanoplasty

This type of surgery is performed when the hole in the eardrum is quite large or other surgical attempts have not successfully closed the hole. During this procedure, an incision is made behind the ear and the eardrum is removed. A new eardrum formed from a tissue graft is then implanted into the ear. This type of surgery can take up to two and a half hours.


Tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure to close a perforation, or hole in the eardrum, in an effort to reduce or stop bothersome symptoms including hearing loss, tinnitus, ear drainage, and/or vertigo.

Results and expectations may vary by patient, which should be discussed with the surgeon.

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