Tympanoplasty eardrum surgery (2102)

Key points below

Your child needs surgery on their ear. This should help them to hear better. There may be a hole in the ear drum that needs to be patched. A cyst or infection might also need to be removed and cleaned out.

Understanding the surgery

There are 2 kinds of surgeries that your child might need. It could be that they will need both.

ear canal


A tympanoplasty is a surgery to repair the eardrum. Sometimes surgery is needed on structures behind the ear drum. Most often it is on the small bones behind the ear drum that allow hearing. In some cases, surgery is done through the ear canal. Cuts (incisions) are made in the ear canal. In other cases, surgery is done from behind the ear. The incision is hidden behind the outer the ear. The kind of incision will depend on what repair needs to be done.


A mastoidectomy removes a small amount of bone behind the ear canal to get to the mastoid space. This is an air-filled area that connects to the space behind the ear drum.This surgery is done through a cut (incision) that is hidden behind the outer ear.

Ear infections and cholesteatoma (skin cysts behind the ear drum) need both tympanoplasty and mastoidectomy to completely clear infection and the cyst. When these surgeries are done together, it is called tympanomastoidectomy.

Sometimes, a mastoidectomy is done alone. This would be for someone who gets a cochlear implant or to reach infection that is just in the mastoid bone and mastoid space.

How do I care for the ear after surgery?

The most important thing to remember is to keep the ear dry.

Your child may have a round, cup-like dressing over the ear that had surgery. There may also be a small cotton ball just outside the ear canal. These can be removed 24 hours after surgery. Your surgeon will let you know if this needs to be kept on longer.

Under the dressing and cotton ball, the ear canal is usually filled with dissolvable packing. This helps the ear canal and ear drum heal. Sometimes some of the packing will fall out. Do not worry, the packing does not need to be put back into the ear canal. Do not pull out loose packing. Let it dissolve or fall out on its own.

How will my child feel after surgery?

Home Care


If your child has a bleeding disorder, do not give ibuprofen (also known as Advil or Motrin).

If antibiotics or ear drops are prescribed, give them as directed until they are gone.

Special Instructions


Follow-up Appointment

Call the ENT clinic at 414-266-2982 to schedule the follow-up visit, unless it is already scheduled. 

For more health and wellness information check out this resource:



Call if you have any questions or concerns:

  • (414) 266 6461, ENT Nurse Triage Line your child is having problems or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.
  • (414) 266-2000, Hospital Operator if you have an emergency or if it is after hours. Ask for the ENT surgeon on call to be paged.
  • (414) 266 6461, Call the ENT Nurse Triage Line if:
  • Your child complains of a lot of pain even after taking pain medicine.
  • Your child is having problems or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.
  • You see a large amount of bleeding, puss or foul-smelling drainage coming from your child's ear.
  • Your child has a temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher.
  • There is increasing redness in the ear area.
  • There is a difference in the way your child’s face looks or moves on the side of the surgery.
  • Your child is very dizzy.