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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Tympanoplasty is surgery to close a perforated (torn) tympanic membrane and repair your middle ear. Your tympanic membrane (eardrum) is a tissue found in the middle part of your ear. Your eardrum divides your outer ear canal from your inner ear. Tympanoplasty may be needed if your eardrum is completely torn, collapsed, or diseased. You may also need the surgery if your torn eardrum has caused a chronic (long-time) eustachian tube problem. Your eustachian tube connects your middle ear to your throat. Your ossicles (three middle-ear bones) and the bone behind your ear may also be damaged and need repair. How your surgery is done will depend on the type of damage seen in your middle ear.
- During surgery, caregivers will close your torn eardrum by covering it with a graft. The graft may be placed on the torn portion of your eardrum or used to replace your whole eardrum. If there is damage to any of your ossicles, caregivers will repair them using a different graft. Both grafts may be a piece of skin or cartilage (tough tissue found in joints). The graft may be fascia (hard tissue that covers muscle) or the covering of your cartilage. The graft may be taken from an area of your body, another person, an animal, or man-made. With a tympanoplasty your hearing loss may improve. Your risk of ear infections may also be decreased.
- Keep a written list of the medicines you take, the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list of your medicines or the pill bottles when you see your caregivers. Learn why you take each medicine. Ask your caregiver for information about your medicine. Do not use any medicines, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements without first talking to caregivers.
- Always take your medicine as directed by caregivers. Call your caregiver if you think your medicines are not helping, or if you feel you are having side effects. Do not quit taking your medicines until you discuss it with your caregiver. If you are taking medicine that makes you drowsy, do not drive or use heavy equipment.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help prevent infection after your surgery. It may be taken by mouth or put into your ear as a liquid (ear drops). Antibiotic ear drops may be mixed with steroids, which is medicine to decrease swelling and redness in your ear.
- Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
- Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
- Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
Follow-up visit information:
Ask your caregiver when to return for follow-up visits. You will need to see your caregiver so he can check your ear. Do not remove your bandage. Your caregiver may remove the bandage inside your ear a few weeks after your surgery. You may need many follow-up visits over the next few years. The visits are needed to check your hearing and to check if your ear graft is secure. Make sure to keep all your planned visits with your caregiver. Write down any questions you may have so that you will remember to ask them during your next visit.
- Avoid blowing your nose hard or getting water into your ear. This will help keep the graft secure and help prevent ear infections.
- If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking may increase your risk of having problems after your surgery. Smoking may cause your graft to fail, and may slow your healing time. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- Your surgery site is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition, medicine, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have blood or discharge coming out of your ear.
- You have hearing loss that is worse than before your surgery, or you cannot hear anything.
- You have pain in your inner ear or behind your ear.
- You have trouble making the muscles in your face move.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.