What are the four types of middle ear surgery?

Middle ear surgery is a part of the series of surgical procedures to manage middle ear diseases.
Middle ear surgery is a part of the series of surgical procedures to manage middle ear diseases.

There are four different surgeries carried out to treat middle ear disorders, which include:

  1. Myringoplasty: It is a surgery to repair a hole in the eardrum.
  2. Ossiculoplasty: It involves rectification of the middle ear bone problems. These bones are responsible for transmitting sound from the eardrum to the inner ear.
  3. Tympanoplasty: It involves repairing the hole in the eardrum and rectifying any injury to the tiny bones that play a key role in the hearing.
  4. Mastoidectomy: It refers to the surgical removal of the flat air cavities in the mastoid bone behind the ear.

The normal ear has three parts. Each part has an important function. They are:

  • The outer ear (pinna and ear canal) gathers and directs sound, causing the eardrum to vibrate.
  • The middle ear comprises the tympanic membrane, ossicles, mastoid, and eustachian tube. The sound vibration is magnified and conducted to the inner ear.
  • The inner ear (cochlea) transforms the vibration into electrical signals and drives it to the brain.

What are the common conditions affecting the middle ear?

Several conditions can affect the middle ear. This may include:

  • Eustachian tube dysfunction: The eustachian tube balances the pressure between the middle ear and outside pressure. Damage to the eustachian tube can damage the eardrum and affect the hearing.
  • Ear infections: Middle ear infections may cause pressure, pain, hearing loss, rupture of the eardrum, and ear discharge.
  • Tympanic membrane perforation: It refers to a hole in the eardrum, leading to hearing loss, drainage, and pain.
  • Cholesteatoma: It is characterized by abnormal skin growth in the middle ear.
  • Conductive hearing loss: It results when the sound waves do not transmit to the inner ear.

What does middle ear surgery involve?

The middle ear surgery may involve:

  • Removing any dead tissue or infected matter.
  • Placing the graft to reconstruct the tympanic membrane.
  • Introducing a prosthesis to replace a damaged bone.

Before the procedure:

You should do the following:

  • You shouldn’t eat or drink anything 6 hours before the surgery. Your stomach should be empty on the day of the procedure.
  • The physician will detail the procedure, its risk, and benefits to you. Clarify your doubts by asking questions to the physician before consenting.
  • You may have to sign an informed consent form before the procedure. Inform the physician regarding any specific allergies.
  • Stop taking blood thinners a week before the surgery.

During the procedure:

You may be put under anesthesia before the procedure and the following is done:

  • The physician makes an incision in the front or behind the ears to view the eardrum.
  • In the case of tympanoplasty, the physician uses a tissue near the ear to close any hole in the eardrum.
  • In ossiculoplasty, the physician uses an artificial bone to replace the damaged tiny middle ear bones.
  • Finally, in a mastoidectomy, the physician explores the mastoid to treat infections.

After the procedure:

You should avoid:

  • Sneezing very hard or holding the sneeze
  • Swimming or diving
  • Air travel should be avoided for 2 months
  • Straining and lifting weights
  • Being hit by a jet of water
  • Sudden head movements
  • Blowing nose hardly

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Medically Reviewed on 1/13/2021
References
Kids Health. Tympanoplasty. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/tympanoplasty.html

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Repair of the Middle Ear. NHS Foundation Trust. https://www.gosh.nhs.uk/medical-information/procedures-and-treatments/repair-middle-ear#:~:text=A%20tympanoplasty%20is%20an%20operation,part%20in%20the%20hearing%20process

Ear Surgery Information Center. Tympanoplasty Surgery. earsurgery.org/surgery/tympanoplasty-surgery/