Failure of the surgery to fix the ear drum, remove all infection or cyst can occur. Pain, infection and bleeding are complications of any surgical procedure. These are fortunately rare in ear surgery. Blood loss after tympanoplasty surgery is usually too small to measure. The ear is numbed with long lasting drugs that generally keep the patient comfortable for many hours. Most patients use Tylenol or Motrin/Advil for pain. Narcotics are occasionally used. Infection after ear surgery is very rare. Antibiotics are used for 1 week after medial and lateral tympanoplasty.
Following the physical examination, biopsies and imaging studies, the patient and family should meet with the skull base team — ear surgeon, head and neck surgeon, neurosurgeon, and in some cases plastic surgeon and eye surgeon. Discussions should include the possibility of facial nerve removal and grafting, if the tumor has invaded the facial nerve. In addition, most patients with extensive tumors will lose the hearing and balance functions of the inner ear. In order to isolate the tumor and remove it completely, portions of the ear canal, mastoid and inner ear will be removed in an “enbloc” operation. This means that the structures of the ear canal, drum, middle ear, and inner ear are removed in one piece. This technique reduces the possible spillage of tumor to adjacent sites, but provides a greater chance of cure.