What is the Procedure Like?
Myringotomy is the surgical procedure that is performed to insert ear tubes. Insertion of the tubes is usually an outpatient procedure. The healthcare team that handles your child's procedure includes a surgeon, nurses and a pediatric anesthesiologist.
The surgeon will handle placement of the tubes. Nurses prepare your child for the procedure, assist the physicians during the procedure and care for your child as they emerge from general anesthesia. The anesthesiologist, who has special training in pediatrics, will create and manage a plan of anesthesia for your child.
Myringotomy involves making a small opening in the eardrum to drain the fluid and relieve the pressure from the middle ear. A small tube is placed in the opening of the eardrum to ventilate the middle ear and to prevent fluid from accumulating. The child's hearing is restored after the fluid is drained.
Your child's pediatrician will manage the care of your child after the procedure. Your child's surgeon may order antibiotic ear drops to prevent infection. You will also be instructed on the use of earplugs while your child is in the water, based on the opinion of your child's physician.
Call your child's physician if they experience drainage from the ear, ear pain, fever or displaced tubes (out of ear).
For most children ear tubes will prevent ear infections. Ear tubes fall out after about one year – sometimes sooner and sometimes later. Once the ear tubes fall out and the hole in the ear drum heals, a child could get ear infections again. However, most children will only need one set of ear tubes and will grow out of having recurring ear infections.