Perforated Eardrums and Surgery to Repair Them

  • Posted on: Oct 15 2015
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A person’s eardrum can become perforated, a fancy word for developing a hole, through injury or infection. If the perforation is new, they can sometimes heal themselves. But if a perforation has been present for weeks it is unlikely to heal on its own. A perforation such as this usually can then be the source of recurring ear infections accompanied by discharge.

Sounds like it’s time for a tympanoplasty, surgery to repair that hole in your eardrum.

Why repair a perforated eardrum?

Tympanoplasty closes the perforation in a person’s eardrum. But why bother? After all, closing the hole only slightly improves the damaged hearing because scar tissue winds up forming where the hole was located, and scar tissue doesn’t conduct sound very well.

The reason for surgery is to prevent water from entering your middle ear. What’s the big deal about water in there? Ear infections. Swimmer’s ear didn’t get that moniker just because. If you close the hole, the odds of recurring ear infections drop significantly, and that’s a good thing.


In the surgery, Dr. Marais will usually make a cut either behind the ear or above the ear opening. To access the eardrum, he may need to widen the ear canal with a drill. The skin to graft the hole is taken from under the skin, but sometimes an artificial graft may be used. The patient then has dressings placed in the ear canal; there will also likely be some external dressing.

If you think you may have damaged your eardrum, or if you are suffering recurring ear infections, get a hold of Dr. Marais and schedule an appointment by calling 01923-778383.

Posted in: Hearing Loss

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