Tympanoplasty (TIM-pah-noh-plass-tee) is a surgery to repair the eardrum. The eardrum is a thin layer of tissue that vibrates in response to sound.
The eardrum, or tympanic membrane, is located deep within the ear canal. It can sometimes develop a hole in it, known as a tympanic membrane perforation. Causes of tympanic membrane perforations include trauma, either directly from objects like Q tips, or indirect, such as concussive forces from a slap to ear, and infection. The tympanic membrane helps amplify sound, and any defects in it can cause a decrease in hearing. Most tympanic membrane perforations heal on their own over time. However, if the eardrum does not heal there is a risk of hearing loss and the ear is vulnerable to infections. Repairing the hole requires the placement of a graft to allow the tympanic membrane to heal.
There are several procedures that can be performed to repair a hole in an ear drum. The type of surgery depends on the size of the hole, the location on the ear drum, and other parts of your medical history. A myringoplasty is a surgery where the hole is repaired using a graft made of either a small piece of tissue from elsewhere on the body (typically the earlobe), or a gel-like material. A tympanoplasty involves a more extensive rebuilding of the ear drum. The goal of surgery is to close the hole in the eardrum and improve hearing. This surgery may be performed for several different reasons (improve hearing, decrease infections, etc.)