What should I expect after the operation?

  • There may be some discomfort initially which should be controlled by simple analgesia such as paracetamol. The ear may feel blocked for a few weeks. This is due to the dressing as well as fluid accumulation in the middle ear.

  • Some blood stained discharge that settles over a few days

  • After the stitch is removed after a week/10 days , antibiotic drops may be prescribed for 2 weeks.

  • The graft can take up to 4-6 weeks to heal. A hearing and pressure test is performed to confirm that the graft is intact and to check the hearing

What are the possible complications? 

Complications from tympanoplasty are rare, but can include: 

  • The ear may stick out and feel numb for a few weeks

  • damage to the nerve controlling taste (this runs along the edge of the eardrum)- leading to a metallic taste on that side of the tongue, which usually dissipates after 3-4 months

  • tinnitus

  • dizziness

  • rare risk of a deterioration in hearing

  • failure - sometimes the graft does not take or can breakdown. Care must be taken to avoid any sudden pressure change and it is advised to avoid flying and playing wind instruments

How long before my child can return to school?

Children may return to school 1 week after the operation but should avoid contact sports for about 4 weeks

What will my child’s ear look like afterwards?

The ear may stick out initially due to swelling, but will return to its normal position within a few weeks. The scar is behind the ear and not visible

Can my child swim after the operation?

It is necessary to wait until the graft has taken fully, which is at least 4 weeks after the surgery

When will my child be able to fly?

Although aircraft cabin pressure is controlled there may be some slight changes which may induce patients to try to equalise their ears. This may result in displacement of the graft. and it is recommended that flying be postponed until 4 weeks after surgery.