Posts for: January, 2021
A ruptured or damaged eardrum, also called the tympanic membrane, can often heal on its own. In some cases, though, a surgical procedure referred to as a tympanoplasty is needed to repair the eardrum and improve hearing. The highly skilled ear, nose, and throat doctors at Century Ear, Nose & Throat, Head & Neck Surgery in Orland Park, IL, specialize in otolaryngology and perform tympanoplasty procedures to repair damaged eardrums.
What is Tympanoplasty?
A tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure for repairing a damaged eardrum that is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. There are several different types of tympanoplasty surgeries. Depending on the specific type being performed, general anesthesia might be used so patients remain unconscious during the surgery.
Types of tympanoplasty procedures include:
- Patch Tympanoplasty — A minor procedure in which a small patch is placed over the hole in the eardrum. The procedure can be completed in just a few minutes.
- Fat Tympanoplasty — For this procedure, the ear lobe is frozen so that a small amount of fat tissue can be removed. The fat tissue is then placed through the hole in the eardrum and the earlobe is sutured closed. This surgery typically can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.
- Medial Tympanoplasty — This procedure is slightly more complicated than patch or fat tympanoplasty surgeries and generally takes anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour to complete. During this procedure, the eardrum is accessed either through an incision in the ear canal or from behind the ear. Then the eardrum is lifted and a tissue graft is slid under it.
- Lateral Tympanoplasty — This type of surgery is performed when the hole in the eardrum is quite large or other surgical attempts have not successfully closed the hole. During this procedure, an incision is made behind the ear and the eardrum is removed. A new eardrum formed from a tissue graft is then implanted into the ear. This type of surgery can take up to two and a half hours.
The experienced otolaryngology doctors at our practice in Orland Park can determine which procedure is best based on several factors, including the patient’s age and the location and size of the hole in the eardrum.
The Recovery Process
It can take a few weeks for the eardrum to fully heal following a tympanoplasty procedure. During that time, it is best to avoid getting water in the ear. Wearing an earplug when showering or bathing will help protect the ear and keep it dry. Patients should also be careful not to blow the nose too hard. Additionally, it is best to avoid rigorous or intense physical exercise while the eardrum is still healing. The doctor will examine your ear a few weeks after surgery to see if the hole in the eardrum has fully healed.
If you have ruptured or damaged your eardrum, tympanoplasty surgery can be performed to repair the damage and restore hearing. To learn more about tympanoplasty and eardrum repair, schedule an appointment with one of the knowledgeable doctors on our otolaryngology team by calling Century Ear, Nose & Throat, Head & Neck Surgery in Orland Park, IL, at (708) 460-0007. We also have office locations in Evergreen Park and Lenox.
Earwax is important for the health of the ear, as it helps trap bacteria and other particles that could affect the health and function of the eardrum. So, while you might think that earwax is simply a nuisance that you need to get rid of, it’s best to leave your ears alone. After all, your ears are self-cleaning. In fact, using Q-tips in your ears can simply just push earwax further into the ear canal, leading to impaction. If you are dealing with impacted earwax you may experience,
- Muffled hearing
- A feeling of fullness in the ears
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Ear pain
What should I do if I have an earwax impaction?
If you have impacted earwax you may try over-the-counter kits to rinse out the ears and remove the earwax; however, it’s best to have a qualified ENT doctor examine your ear and not just determine if your symptoms are due to impacted earwax but also to safely remove the excess wax.
If you are dealing with impacted earwax you mustn’t stick a cotton swab or other tools into your ears to try and remove the earwax, as this could damage or puncture the eardrum.
Your ENT doctor has special tools and suction devices to be able to flush out the earwax buildup and to clean out the ears. Some people are prone to earwax buildup, particularly seniors. If this is something that you deal with regularly then your doctor may recommend special ear drops that can break up the earwax.
If you’re having trouble with impacted earwax, or earwax buildup talk with your ENT specialist about safe strategies to keep your ears clean. While there are tools that can be effective and safe, when used properly, you may wish to turn to a qualified doctor to find out the best way to keep your ears clean.