(Tympanostomy; Tympanotomy; Ear Tubes Surgery)
Reasons for Procedure
- To restore hearing loss caused by chronic fluid build-up and to prevent delayed speech development caused by hearing loss in children
- To place tympanostomy tubes—these tubes help to equalize pressure. It may also help prevent recurrent ear infections and the accumulation of fluid behind the ear drum
- To help treat an ear infection that is not responding to medical treatment
- To take sample fluid from the middle ear to examine in the lab for the presence of bacteria or other infections
- Chronic scarring
- Failure of the myringotomy incision in the ear drum to heal as expected, which may result in frequent drainage
- Hearing loss
- Injury to ear structures other than the ear drum
- Need for repeat surgery
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Blood tests
- Hearing test
- Tympanogram—a test that measures how well the ear drum responds to changes in pressure
- Examine the external ear and the ear drum with an instrument called an otoscope
- Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
- Do not eat or drink anything for at least eight hours before the procedure.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
- Blood thinners
Description of Procedure
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
- If cotton was placed in the ear canal to absorb postsurgical drainage, change it regularly. (Drainage should end or reduce to a minimal amount within 2-3 days.)
- If you are given ear drops, use as directed. You will usually put three drops in each ear, three times a day for three days after surgery.
- If water gets in the ear after surgery, monitor for drainage. If drainage begins, use ear drops if directed by your doctor. If drainage continues for three days (or as directed), call your doctor.
- Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor.
- Use ear plugs as prescribed by your doctor while swimming or bathing, and avoid underwater swimming and diving unless instructed otherwise.
- Do not clean your ear after surgery or place anything other than ear drops, cotton, or ear plugs into the ear, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the ear
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
- Drainage from ear continues for more than four days after surgery
- Decreased hearing
- Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea or vomiting
- Any other new concerns
HealthyChildren.org - American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders http://www.nidcd.nih.gov
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology http://www.entcanada.org
Hospital for Sick Children http://www.sickkids.ca
Acute otitis media. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated June 3, 2013. Accessed September 3, 2013.
Myringotomy and PE tubes. Baylor College of Medicine Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Communicative Sciences website. Available at: http://www.bcm.edu/oto/index.cfm?pmid=16841. Accessed September 3, 2013.
Myringotomy and PE tubes. The University of Chicago Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.uchicagokidshospital.org/specialties/ent/patient-guides/myringotomy.html. Accessed September 3, 2013.
9/25/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Bell L. Tympanostomy tubes in children. NEJM. 2013 Aug 12. Reviewing Rosenfeld RM et al., Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2013 Jul 149:8.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -