Tympanoplasty Eardrum Surgery

What is a tympanoplasty?

If your child has a perforation in the tympanic membrane — often referred to as a punctured eardrum — she may need a tympanoplasty, a specialized operation to repair the hole in the inner ear.

In this operation, an incision is made in the crease behind the earlobe (auricle). A piece of cartilage or fascia (fibrous tissue overlying muscle) is taken from another part of your child's body and grafted onto the tympanic membrane to help close the perforation.

Why choose us?

At The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, our Division of Otolaryngology has national reputation as one of the leading pediatric ear, nose and throat (ENT) centers in the United States. We attract families from across the country and around the world, who seek out our expert otolaryngologists for surgery for chronic ear disease and other conditions.

How is tympanoplasty performed?

If your child needs a tympanoplasty, it will likely be performed under general anesthesia. Your child may have the procedure performed at:

  • An ambulatory surgery unit
  • In the Hospital as a day surgery procedure
  • In the hospital as an inpatient

After surgery

After your child's tympanoplasty surgery, you can expect: 

  • A head dressing of gauze to remain over your child's affected ear for one day.
  • Sutures that are buried under your child's skin and do not require removal.
  • Absorbable gelatin packing in your child's ear that will dissolve with eardrops.
  • Some discharge from your child's affected ear for the first few days post-surgery.

Special precautions 

  • You should keep your child's incision site dry for three days.
  • Your child should refrain from physical activities that could lead to significant head trauma for two weeks after the operation.

When to call the doctor

Call the doctor immediately if your child experiences any of the following symptoms after surgery:

  • Increased swelling, redness or pain around the ear
  • A temperature higher than 101.5° F rectally or 100.5° F orally
  • Dizziness

Discharge instructions

Please review The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia discharge instructions for Tympanoplasty and/or Tympanomastoidectomy.

Review date: April 2009