A tympanomastoidectomy is a surgery to repair the middle ear. It includes repair of the eardrum and removal of a damaged mastoid bone. The mastoid bone is the part of your skull that you can feel behind your ear.
The exact steps of the procedure will vary depending on your needs, but may include:
middle ear infections, tumors, or excess tissue growth can cause damage to the eardrum and surrounding tissue. A tympanomastoidectomy is done to repair the damage and, if necessary, remove damaged tissue.
A tympanomastoidectomy may be needed to:
Remove a tumor or growth from the mastoid bone
Remove infected or excess tissue (such as a cholesteatoma) from behind the eardrum and surrounding area
Repair a hole in the eardrum
Repair hearing bones in the middle ear
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
—your ear and the area around it will be numb, but you will still be awake
Description of the Procedure
An incision will be made behind your 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 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. When all of the procedures are complete, the incision site will be closed.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will block pain during the procedure. You will have pain after the procedure. Ask your doctor about medication to help manage pain.
At the Care Center
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room. Your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
Antibiotics to prevent infection
Medication to prevent blood clots
It may take about a week or longer before you can fully return to normal activities. There may also be some muffled hearing. Certain activities will need to be avoided in the weeks after your procedure to prevent extra pressure on your ear. In the weeks after your procedure, your doctor may recommend that you:
Avoid heavy lifting or straining.
Sneeze with your mouth open and lightly blow your nose.
Keep water out of your ear. Avoid showers and washing hair until it is approved by the doctor.
Avoid swimming until doctor says it is okay to do so. Then limit swimming for several weeks.
Avoid flying until your doctor says it is okay.
Call Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications such as:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Increased fluid or foul-smelling fluid drainage from the ear
Redness, swelling, or increased pain in the ear
Bleeding from the ear
Lightheadedness, loss of balance, or vertigo
Pain that you cannot control with the medications you were given
New or unexpected symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Mastoidectomy and cholesteatoma. Society for Middle Ear Disease website. Available at: http://societyformiddleeardisease.org/SurgicalAtlasofPediatricOtolaryngology/5-Mastoidectomy-and-Cholesteatoma.pdf. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Tympanomastoidectomy. Midwest ENT website. Available at: http://mwent.org/surgical-info/tympanomastoidectomy.html. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Tympanomastoidectomy. Paparella Ear Head & Neck Institute, P.A. website. Available at: https://www.pehni.com/patient_ed/tympanomastoidectomy.htm. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Tympanoplasty with ossicular chain reconstruction—surgical instructions. Head & Neck Associates of Orange County website. Available at: http://www.hnaoc.com/docs/tympanomastoidctmy-w-ocr-june-2015.pdf. Updated September 2013. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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