The tympanic membrane, more commonly known as the eardrum, requires surgery when it becomes severely perforated or damaged. Tympanoplasty is the surgical technique to repair a defect in the membrane by placing a graft over it.
There are several types of tympanoplasty procedures. Patch tympanoplasty is the most minor of procedures and consists of placing a biologic tissue patch over the hole in the eardrum which is held in place by a drop of blood from the surrounding area. Fat tympanoplasty, another minor procedure, is a process in which the ear lobe is frozen and a small amount of fat is removed. The fat is placed over the perforation and sutured in place. Medial tympanoplasty, also called lateral tympanoplasty, requires general anesthesia and is done via incision behind the ear wherein a tissue graft from the ear muscle is slid under the eardrum. Excess tissues are removed and the ear canal is packed to hold the graft in place.
Mastoids are cells located in the skull behind the ear. A mastoidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove diseased mastoid cells that can cause chronic otitis media, or ongoing infection of the middle ear.
A mastoidectomy involves drilling a hole in the mastoid bone behind the ear and removing the infected cells. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and many patients return home later the same day. Afterward, your ears will be bandaged, and there may be stitches. You might experience headaches, discomfort and numbness. You’ll likely be prescribed pain medication and antibiotics, and will need to return after a few days to have your bandages and stitches removed. You’ll need to keep your ear free of water and avoid strenuous activity or anything that might create pressure on your ear (e.g., airplane travel). Complications are rare, but might include facial nerve paralysis, sensorineural hearing loss, vertigo, tinnitus and a change in taste.