Why Is Ear Endoscopy Done? Uses & Benefits

Medically Reviewed on 4/13/2022
Why Is Ear Endoscopy Done
Ear endoscopy is a procedure in which a thin tube with a light is inserted into the ear canal in order to access the middle ear to diagnose and treat certain conditions

Ear endoscopy is a procedure in which an endoscope, which is a thin tube with a light, is inserted into the ear canal in order to access the middle ear to diagnose and treat conditions that involve the complex, delicate structures of the middle ear.

When is endoscopic ear surgery necessary?

Eardrum perforations

If you have developed holes (perforations) in your eardrums, your doctor may recommend tympanoplasty. Eardrum perforations are often caused by chronic ear infections or foreign body insertion. 

Eardrum perforations may heal on their own. However, if they persist for more than 3 months, your doctor may recommend tympanoplasty to cover or repair the hole.


Tympanosclerosis, also called hardened eardrum, is a condition characterized by the deposition of calcium deposits on the eardrum. The deposition causes the eardrum to become thick, hard, and less flexible, which can hinder the vibration needed for hearing.

Tympanosclerosis does not require treatment if there are no symptoms. However, if the condition affects your ability to hear, your doctor may perform ear endoscopic surgery to remove thickened parts of the eardrum and repair the damage.


Cholesteatoma is a benign skin cyst that can develop in the middle ear due to a birth defect, ear injury, or frequent ear infections.

Cholesteatomas are slow-growing, but if they grow large enough to damage the structures of the middle ear, you may develop problems with your hearing. To prevent hearing loss, your doctor may recommend ear endoscopic surgery to remove the cyst.


Otosclerosis is an inherited disease in which there is an abnormal bone growth inside the ear, which blocks the transmission of sound to the inner ear and causes hearing loss. Treatment of the condition requires removing and replacing the bone. Surgery to recreate the inner ear can be done with the help of ear endoscopy.

Ear tumor

Endoscopic ear surgery can be used to remove different types of ear tumors, such as osteoma and paraganglioma.

What are the advantages of ear endoscopy?

Doctors may recommend ear endoscopy for the following advantages:

  • Less invasive. Since the surgery involves incisions, recovery and healing time are reduced. Recovery typically takes about a week.
  • Better visualization. The flexibility of the endoscope allows it to bend as required to enable a better view of the internal structures of the ear.
  • Useful for difficult surgeries. When traditional ear surgery methods make it difficult to access blind spots or hidden recesses, endoscopy can help.

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Medically Reviewed on 4/13/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

Freire GSM, Sampaio ALL, Lopes RAF, Nakanishi M, de Oliveira CACP. Does ear endoscopy provide advantages in the outpatient management of open mastoidectomy cavities?. PLoS One. 2018;13(1):e0191712. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0191712

Horlbeck DM. Middle Ear Endoscopy. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/860570-overview