What is tympanoplasty

Tympanoplasty, also known as perilymph fistula surgery, is a surgical treatment to repair the perilymph fistula. During a tympanoplasty, your eardrum will be reconstructed from cartilage taken from your body.

Although this is not an invasive procedure, the recovery process is lengthy.

Who is a candidate for tympanoplasty?

Patients who have an optic capsule fistula, those who not experienced symptom relief with conservative treatments, those who have progressive hearing loss associated with BPPV may be candidates for a surgical repair of the perilymph fistula.

Your Mercy Health doctor will evaluate your case, weigh the benefits and risks and make a recommendation if this is an option for you.

Risks associated with a tympanoplasty

Risks associated with tympanoplasty may include:

  • Perforated eardrum
  • Ear infection 
  • Increased hearing loss
  • Facial nerve injury that can cause paralysis
  • Decreased sense of taste on the affected side
  • Persistent dizziness or tinnitus

What to expect during a tympanoplasty

Tympanoplasty surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia. Your doctor will enter the inner ear via the ear canal or through an incision behind the ear. Your eardrum will be lifted, and a fascia graft made from your own cartilage is placed in the hole. The graft is held in place by packing that is placed in the middle ear and the top of the graft.

The procedure takes approximately two hours to perform.

Recovery from a tympanoplasty

Your doctor will give you detailed instructions after discharging you from the hospital including:

  • Do not participate in any strenuous activities
  • Do not lift heavy objects over 20 pounds
  • Do not strain
  • Sleep with the head of your bed elevated

After two weeks, or until you have your doctor’s clearance, you can gradually resume your normal routine. If you return to your activities too quickly, you could seriously harm your inner and middle ear.

Results from tympanoplasty

Although you will likely experience symptom relief after surgery, the likelihood of recovering your hearing is low.

Approximately 90 percent of patients experience hearing improvement of at least 15 decibels after two years.

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