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Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery



The purpose of a tympanoplasty is to reconstruct or patch up a perforated eardrum. 


A graft consisting of cartilage, fat (often harvested from behind the ear), or fascia (tissue overlaying muscle) is used to reconstruct the eardrum. Depending on the size and location of the perforation, tympanoplasty can be performed in the procedure room under local anaesthetic. In this case, the surgeon enters through the external ear canal.

In more complex cases, tympanoplasty may be performed in the operating room under general anaesthetic. In the operating room, the surgeon may decide to either make a small incision above the ear canal to approach the repair (endaural incision) or they can go behind the ear (post-auricular).

Post-operative care

In-clinic tympanoplasty

Patients undergoing tympanoplasties in the clinic will have 2-3 dissolvable sutures behind the ear where the fat graft was harvested. This incision will heal on its own and there is no need to apply any ointment such as Polysporin®. There are no sutures to remove.

Operating room tympanoplasty

Patients who ungerdo tympanoplasty in the operating room through a post-auricular approach will have a behind-the-ear incision that is much deeper and closed using staples. Staples are usually removed in our office 10-14 days after surgery.

Those undergoing tympanoplasty through the endaural approach will have 2-3 dissolvable sutures on the incision. Both types of incisions can be cared for by applying Polysporin® twice a day over the incision.

All patients who undergo tympanoplasty

For the vast majority of tympanoplasties, the packing in the external ear is usually soaked with blood from the operation. This is normal. It is also common for some blood-coloured drainage to discharge from the external ear for several days after surgery. If there is concern about the colour or rate of discharge, please contact your surgeon's office.

Do not touch or remove the packing in the ear canal.

Please try to keep your ear dry at all times until proper healing or the time frame given to you by your surgeon. To minimize stress on the operation site, do not lift weights greater than 25 lbs. for 4-6 weeks after the surgery. You are also to avoid flying for 4-6 weeks.

Coughing, straining, sneezing, and blowing your nose should also be done as little as possible. If you must cough or sneeze do so with your mouth open as wide as possible to minimize the pressure. Any extra, significant pressure can potentially dislodge the graft, which will reduce the rate of success.

Most people who perform little physical activities at work can resume work in approximately one week.

Location and contact

Department of Otolaryngology

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue,
M-wing, 1st floor, room M1 102
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5

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Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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