The perforation of the eardrum is the presence of a hole in the membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear. The eardrum perforation usually occurs in the anteroinferior or posteroinferior quadrant and can be punctiform, oval, round, broad, reniform, or circular.
The eardrum, also called the tympanic membrane, is a thin membrane that is part of the sound transmission system from the outside to the inner ear and from there through the auditory nerve to the brain. The main symptom of perforation of this membrane is hearing loss, smaller or larger depending on the size of the rupture and its location.
Ignoring a tympanic perforation can lead in time to either a chronic infection with a constantly flowing ear or the development of a cholesteatoma.
How Much Does Perforated Eardrum Surgery Cost?
The perforated eardrum surgery is known also as Tympanoplasty.
Its cost is influenced by some factors such as the inclusions in the bill, your geographical location, the doctor who performs it, the type of procedure, the facility you choose, and the way the anesthesia will be billed. However, you should expect to pay anywhere between $2,100 and more than $15,500 if you don’t have health insurance.
For example, David Steward, MD said on the NetWellness.org website that he would charge around $2,100 for a simple perforated eardrum surgery with a same-day discharge, while in a hospital the cost for the same procedure would be almost $8,100.
In case you have a health insurance policy, it should cover the surgery cost as long as it is deemed medically necessary. In this situation, you will only have to meet your deductibles and co-pay.
Perforated eardrum surgery details
During the procedure, a small cut is made in front of or behind the ear, and a small piece of tissue is removed, where a scar will remain. The eardrum hole is covered with a piece of tissue, and then a bandage is applied, which will be removed in two or three weeks and has the role of preventing water and microbes from entering the ear. Most people are discharged on the day of the surgery.
The surgery takes 45-90 minutes and consists of restoring the eardrum by adding tissue under the remains of the old eardrum.
Anesthesia varies depending on the extent of the tympanic surface to be repaired, and the patient’s preference.
It can be:
- local anesthesia;
- general anesthesia (by oro-tracheal intubation).
What are the symptoms of a perforated eardrum?
- Itching in the ear
- Sudden hearing loss
- Liquid flowing from the ear
- Ear pain
What causes the perforation of the eardrum?
- Changes in air pressure, such as flying or diving.
- A loud noise, like an explosion.
- An ear infection.
- An injury to the eardrum, such as a blow or the insertion of an object deep into the ear.
Important things to consider
It is normal to have dizziness after the operation, to hear unusual sounds, or to experience bleeding in the first days. However, it is necessary to contact your doctor if:
- You will have a lot of blood in your ear, or you notice that you have bad breath.
- You have severe pain, which does not improve if you take painkillers.
- The ear is red, swollen, and itchy.
What do specialists recommend after surgery?
- Avoid sports and other intense activities.
- Do not drive or drink alcohol for the first 24 hours.
- Avoid flying, swimming, and smoking.
- Do not change the bandage inside the ear.
- Do not allow water to enter the ear.
Do not come in contact with people suffering from infections that can be transmitted.
What are the risks of such a surgery?
- Permanent whizzing
- Permanent changes in taste
- Hearing loss
- Inability to move some of the facial muscles
What are the extra costs?
You will have to do a hearing test before the surgery is even considered.
How can I save money?
You may be able to save up to 40% of the perforated eardrum surgery cost if you try to make an appointment outside of a hospital. A freestanding surgical center will always be cheaper than a local hospital.
If you have health insurance, make sure you talk with the health insurance company and ask which doctors/facilities work with your insurance.