This is an operation to repair a hole in the eardrum. It can be done via the ear canal (transcanal), with a small skin incision at the top of the entrance to the ear canal (endaural), or through an incision behind the ear (postauricular). It may necessitate widening of the ear canal (canalplasty). It involves placing graft tissue obtained from below your skin under the perforation. Packing will be placed in the ear canal and a head bandage applied.

The head bandage will be removed the next day, and the ear canal packing removed in the clinic in 2 to 3 weeks.

You will be given a prescription for pain relief before you leave the hospital. It will be uncomfortable for the first 1 to 2 weeks, then usually subsides. You may also receive antibiotics.

Altered sensation:
The outside of the ear may feel numb for a while. Your ear will feel blocked and the hearing will be down for some weeks. You may hear or feel some popping and crackling in the ear, as well as tinnitus. Occasionally you may feel slightly unsteady for 2 to 3 days after the operation, but more than this, let the surgeon know. Sometimes there will be an altered taste sensation.

Do not get water down the ear canal. You can wash your hair after 1 to 2 days. To prevent water from entering the ear canal, roll a small ball of cotton wool in Vaseline and place it at the entrance to the ear canal with a cup over your ear. If you have had an incision behind the ear, it may be covered with steristrips and you can pat the area behind the ear or use a hairdryer to gently dry it but do not rub it for two weeks. The steristrips will start to lift off after a week and can then be removed.

Do not exercise, swim, blow your nose or try to pop your ears for two weeks or until seen in the clinic.

Your ear canal will discharge blood-stained fluid and some of the pieces of ear canal packing may fall out. Do not put anything into the ear canal. Place a small rolled ball of cotton wool at the entrance to the canal to collect this and change as required.

If you have any concerns after your procedure, please contact the following:

  • Auckland ENT Group on 09 522 2226
  • Your Family Doctor / GP
  • After hours – 24 Hour Medical Centre
  • In case of an emergency – dial 111 for an ambulance.

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