Tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure in which the doctor repairs a hole in the ear drum with the patient’s own tissue. There are many possible causes of a hole in the ear drum, known as a perforation, including penetrating or pressure trauma (barotrauma), infection, and/or chronic eustachian tube dysfunction.
Sometimes a hold in the eardrum can results in skin from the ear canal entering the middle ear. If this occurs, a cyst of skin called a Cholesteatoma can form. This type of middle ear disease can lead to bone destruction, hearing loss, balance problems, and even CSF leak or meningitis.
A surgery known as mastoidectomy or tympanomastoidectomy involves the removal of diseased tissue from the middle ear and mastoid cavity. If the ossicles (the small hearing bones in the middle ear) are damaged, these can often be repaired too. At the end of the surgery, typically an new ear drum is made, just as described above as Tympanoplasty.
Otosclerosis is a condition in which the stapes bone (one of the ossicles in the middle ear) becomes stuck, or fixated due to abnormal bone growth. Hearing tests can aid in the diagnosis, but a definitive diagnosis can only be made in the operating room upon examination of the ossicles. A procedure called stapedectomy can correct this problem and restore the hearing.
Similar to other middle ear problems such as Eustachian Tube Dysfunction or Serous Effusion, the main symptom of these middle ear diseases is usually a clogged or fullness sensation in the ear and muffled or decreased hearing (Conductive Hearing Loss).
There can also be simultaneous infection with associated drainage, pain, and discomfort. These more urgent symptoms often require ear cleaning and antibiotics. Subsequent to clearing the infection, the surgery can be planned to treat the structural middle ear and/or ear drum problem.