Ear microsurgery is the manipulative treatment of diseases, tumors, injuries, or deformations of the ear by operation under the operating microscope with fine micro-instruments.
Ear surgery is performed to correct certain types of hearing loss, and to treat diseases of, injuries to, or deformities of the ear's auditory tube, middle ear, inner ear, and auditory and vestibular systems. Ear surgery is commonly performed to treat conductive hearing loss, persistent ear infections, unhealed perforated eardrums, congenital ear defects, and tumors.
Ear surgery is performed on children and adults. In some cases, surgery is the only treatment; in others, it is used only when more conservative medical treatment fails.
The precautions vary, depending on the type of ear surgery under consideration. For example, stapedectomy (removal of parts of the middle ear and insertion of prosthesis parts) should not be performed on people with external or middle ear infection or inner ear disease. For people with complete hearing loss in the other ear, it should be performed cautiously. Microsurgery for the removal of a cholesteatoma (a cyst-like mass of cells in the middle ear) should not be performed on patients who are extremely ill or have other medical conditions. Tympanoplasty (any surgical procedure on the eardrum or middle ear) should not be performed on patients with chronic sinus or nasal problems and in some patients with medical problems such as poorly controlled diabetes or heart disease. Surgery for congenital microtia and atresia (absence of normal bodily openings, such as the outer ear canal) should not be performed if the middle ear space is totally or almost totally absent.
Most ear surgery is microsurgery, performed with an operating microscope to enable the surgeon to view the very small structures of the ear. The use of minimally invasive laser surgery for middle ear procedures is growing. Laser surgery reduces the amount of trauma due to vibration, enhances coagulation, and enables surgeons to access hard to reach places in the middle ear. Laser surgery can be performed in an office operating suite. Types of ear surgery include stapedectomy, tympanoplasty, myringotomy and ear tube surgery, ear surgery to repair a perforated eardrum, cochlear implants, and tumor removal.