Myringotomy, also known as tympanostomy, is a surgical procedure to create a small hole in the eardrum to relieve pressure and drain fluid or pus from the middle ear. The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum that contains small bones that transmit sound vibrations to the inner ear.
Myringotomy is typically performed to treat conditions such as acute otitis media (middle ear infection), chronic otitis media with effusion (fluid accumulation in the middle ear), or to allow for better delivery of medication to the middle ear.
During the procedure, a small incision is made in the eardrum using a tiny scalpel or laser, and the fluid or pus is suctioned out. Sometimes a small tube called a tympanostomy tube is inserted into the hole to help maintain drainage and equalize pressure in the middle ear. The procedure is usually performed under local or general anesthesia and takes only a few minutes to complete.
After the surgery, patients may experience some mild discomfort or temporary hearing loss, but this typically resolves within a few days to a week. Tympanostomy tubes, if inserted, usually fall out on their own within 6 to 12 months. Myringotomy is generally considered a safe and effective procedure, but as with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications that should be discussed with a qualified healthcare provider.