Traumatic Perforation of the Tympanic Membrane: A Review of 80 Cases



      Traumatic perforation of the tympanic membrane (TPTM) is often encountered in primary care or in the emergency department (ED). Several therapeutic interventions have been described, but conservative follow-up until spontaneous complete recovery is the most common choice.


      Our goal was to analyze the trauma mechanism, perforation characteristics, and outcome of patients with TPTM.


      The study included patients examined in the ED of a tertiary, university-affiliated medical center because of TPTM between 2012 and 2016. Their medical records were retrospectively reviewed for demographics, trauma mechanism, clinical characteristics, and outcome. A phone survey was performed to obtain the missing information of all the patients who did not continue their follow-up in our outpatient clinic.


      We reviewed the histories of 80 patients with a mean age of 26.7 ± 14.6 years (20 children; 25%). TPTM was caused by blunt trauma in 45 patients (56%) and penetrating trauma in 35 patients (44%). Thirty-five patients (44%) completed their follow-up in the hospital outpatient clinic, with a mean duration of 6.2 weeks. Twenty-five patients (38%) completed their follow-up in a community-based otolaryngology clinic, 6 patients (9%) chose not to complete their follow-up, and 14 patients were lost to follow-up. Of the 60 patients who completed follow-up, 56 patients recovered spontaneously, 3 patients underwent successful tympanoplasty, and 1 patient was referred to surgery but was lost to follow-up. All children healed spontaneously.


      TPTM was more common in young males with main mechanisms of blunt trauma (an assault) or cleaning the ear canal. All children demonstrated complete spontaneous recovery.


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