How to Say It: Tim-pano-mass-toyed-ek-tu-me
A tympanomastoidectomy is a surgery to remove abnormal or infected tissue in the bony area (mastoid) behind the ear. The eardrum is also repaired.
Normal Anatomy of the Middle Ear
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This surgery is done when repeat middle ear infections, tumors, or excess tissue growth has damaged the eardrum and surrounding tissue.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
An incision will be made behind the ear. Any growths inside the mastoid will be removed. Infected bone tissue will also be removed. If a large part of the bone is removed, synthetic material may be used to replace it.
The eardrum will be removed. Any excess fluid will be drained out of the middle ear space. Holes of the eardrum can be repaired by placing new tissue over the hole in the eardrum. Excess scar tissue in the area will be removed. If necessary, the bones of the inner ear can be replaced with synthetic material. This helps improve or restore hearing.
Tubes may be left in place to help fluids drain from the ear. The incision will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be placed over the area.
2 to 3 hours
Pain and dizziness are common in the first few days. It will be hard to hear at first, but hearing will improve with time. Medicine and home care can help.
After the procedure, the staff may:
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:
It will take about a week for the incision to fully heal. Physical activity will be limited during this time to prevent extra pressure on your ear. You may need to ask for help with daily activities and delay your return to work.
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-suppurative-otitis-media-csom. Accessed September 28, 2021.
Tympanomastoidectomy. Kaiser Permanente website. Available at: https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health-wellness/health-encyclopedia/he.tympanomastoidectomy-what-to-expect-at-home.ud2603. Accessed September 28, 2021.
Tympanomastoidectomy: What is it and are you a candidate? Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy Specialist website. Available at: https://ent-specialist.org/2020/08/14/tympanomastoidectomy-what-is-it-are-you-a-candidate. Accessed September 28, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 9/28/2021