Q. I had a ear drum repair surgery four years ago. And now it is infected again. Please guide me.

Answered by
Dr. A K Srivastava
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 29, 2017

Hello doctor,

I had myringoplasty done four years ago on my left ear. The surgeon, at the time, has advised me, the procedure will be done through the ear canal to repair the perforated eardrum. Three weeks after the surgery, I returned to my ENT specialist to get it checked, and upon inspection, he told me that the eardrum has repaired well. I was so happy to hear the news.I thought everything went well because when I push in my finger through the ear canal, I can feel it wobbling just like my healthy ear, but before the surgery, there were no vibrations at all. So two months went by and I felt relieved to have a shower without any earplugs. But three months later, my left ear became infected again. However, this time it was not as severe as before when I had a perforated eardrum. Still, it was slowly becoming wet and smelly and there would be a little discharge when sleeping.A year after the surgery, I had a chronic ear infection with smelly discharge just like prior to the surgery. The initial symptoms after getting water in my ears were ear ache then ear discharge. I got worried. So, I made an appointment with a different ENT specialist to treat the ear infection, as well as to get evaluated on why I was getting the middle ear infection when the eardrum was intact.After micro suctioning my left ear, the doctor discovered no hole but told me that the graft looked like a gauze mat, through which water could still seep in, causing me ear infections. I got prescribed antibiotic ear drops for a week, which treated my ear infection. But, I have never heard of this complication before, nor have I come across any medical websites saying that it is a possibility. Please advise if you have ever come across what I am facing right now and if it is a common issue. I am so confused, because I thought when grafts fail, it leaves a hole and not what seems like a gauze mat.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern.

  • As your ear was healing well after the surgery, this indicates that there was no fault in the procedure. But unfortunately, you have again developed the foul-smelling discharge.
  • The possibilities are:
  1. Otitis externa.
  2. Recurrence of otitis media.
  • Recurrence is quite common because an infection can reach the middle ear from the oral cavity, and the oropharynx via the eustachian tube.
  • To get rid of your doubts, you should undergo a thorough clinical examination and necessary investigations.

For more information consult an otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist

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