Ear Tube Surgery
Myringotomy with Tube Placement
This procedure involves making a small hole in the eardrum to remove fluid. A small tube is then inserted in the hole to maintain ventilation. This procedure is often required in childhood due to an immaturity of the eustachian tube that connects the ear to the back of the nose, enlargement of the adenoids and allergies. Being in an environment with increased risk of exposure to colds, viruses, and secondhand smoke also contributes to these problems. A child that lies on their back while drinking a bottle is also at increase risk for ear infections. In rare cases, immune system problems can also be a cause.
Purpose of Procedure
There are several reasons why this is done: recurrent ear infections, fluid that persists longer than 3 months, hearing loss due to retraction of the eardrum.
This procedure involves removing ear wax from the canal if necessary. A small incision in the eardrum is then made with the use of a microscope for better visualization. Through the opening, fluid is removed with suction. A tube is placed through the opening to provide ventilation and improve hearing.
Following the procedure, water exposure will be discussed by your physician. Antibiotic ear drops may be prescribed. Ear drops for pains should be avoided. A follow-up appointment will be arranged at the discretion of your physician. Acetaminophen may be used for discomfort.
Expectations of Outcome
This procedure should allow ventilation of the middle ear as long as the tube is in place. The length of time varies between patients and with various types of tubes used. Ideally the ear would remain dry, but drainage may occur instead of building up behind the eardrum. Treatment of the drainage is easier with tubes in place and ear infections are less painful. Some drainage of blood and fluid may occur several days after surgery. If this should occur continue the drops as prescribed by the surgeon and use a cotton ball to absorb the fluid.