Tympanoplasty can repair a damaged eardrum, stop infection, and improve hearing. During surgery, you may be given general anesthesia, or local anesthesia with sedation. Tympanoplasty takes about 1 to 3 hours. It may be done along with a mastoidectomy or an ossicular chain reconstruction. The eardrum is at the end of the ear canal.

Partly turned face showing inner ear structures.


Eardrum with hole.

Eardrum with repaired hole.

Infection and injury

Your eardrum may become damaged by chronic ear infections. Certain injuries to the ear can also tear the eardrum. An eardrum with a tear or a hole in it may keep you from hearing well. It may also cause ear pain or recurrent infection.

Repairing the eardrum

The eardrum can be reached through the ear canal. Or your surgeon may make an incision behind the ear. Both approaches may be used. Then the eardrum is repaired with a graft. A graft is a small piece of material, often your own tissue. It covers the tear or hole in your eardrum. The graft is secured with a spongy substance. This substance dissolves as the graft heals. If the ear bones are damaged, your own ossicles can be repositioned, or a prosthesis can be placed in an attempt to improve hearing.