Ear Tube Surgeryenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/KH_generic_header_01_2.jpgMany kids get middle ear infections (otitis media). Doctors may suggest ear tube surgery for those with multiple infections or a hearing loss or speech delay.ear infections and ear tube surgery, middle ear, otitis media, middle ear infections, middle ear infection, ear tubes, ear tube, ear tube surgery, myringotomy, hearing loss, ear damage, medications, prescriptions, ear tube surgery, inflammation, eardrum, eustachian tube, air pressure, equalizes, bacteria, viruses, speech development, fever, fussiness, changes in appetite, fluid in ear, hearing difficulties, pulling at ears, rubbing at ears, hearing tests, tympanograms, antibiotics, drainage, ventilation, anesthesia, ent, ear canal, canal, earplugs, otorhinolarynogology, otolaryngology, ent, ear nose and throat, tympanostomy, bilateral myringotomy and tubes, BMT, bmt, CD1Otolaryngology, CD1General Surgery, CD1Myringotomy03/22/200003/30/202003/30/2020Patrick C. Barth, MD06/01/2019add2e377-3c66-403c-8c8a-eb82911bcc54https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ear-infections.html/<h3>What Is Ear Tube Surgery?</h3> <p>Ear tubes are tiny tubes made of metal or plastic. During ear tube surgery, a small hole is made in the eardrums and the tubes are inserted. The opening to the middle ear (the area behind the eardrum) lets air flow in and out. This keeps air pressure even between the middle ear and the outside, and helps to drain fluid that builds up behind the eardrum.</p> <p>Most kids won't need surgery to have a tube taken out later. Ear tubes usually fall out on their own, pushed out as the eardrum heals.</p> <p>Ear tubes are also called tympanostomy tubes, myringotomy tubes, ventilation tubes, or pressure equalization (PE) tubes.</p> <h3>Why Is Ear Tube Surgery Done?</h3> <p>Many kids get <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/otitis-media.html/">middle ear infections (otitis media)</a>. This often happens when a child has a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cold.html/">cold</a> or other respiratory infection. Bacteria or viruses can enter the middle ear and fill it with fluid or pus. When fluid pushes on the eardrum, it can cause an earache and affect hearing. Long periods of decreased hearing in young children can lead to delays in <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/not-talk.html/">speech development</a>.</p> <p>Children who get a lot of ear infections are sometimes sent for <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hear.html/">hearing tests</a>.</p> <p>A doctor might suggest ear tube surgery if:</p> <ul> <li>a child gets many ear infections that don't clear up easily</li> <li>the ear infections seem to be causing hearing loss or speech delay</li> </ul> <p>Ear tube surgery can drain fluid from the middle ear, prevent future infections, and help the child hear properly again.</p> <h3>What Happens Before Ear Tube Surgery?</h3> <p>Your health care provider will tell you what and when your child can eat and drink before the surgery, because the stomach must be empty on the day of the procedure.</p> <p>Surgery, no matter how common or simple, can be scary for kids. You can help prepare your child by talking about what to expect during the ear tube surgery.</p> <h3>What Happens During Ear Tube Surgery?</h3> <p>An ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeon will do the surgery, called a <strong>myringotomy</strong> (meer-in-GOT-uh-mee). It's done in an operating room while your child is under <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/anesthesia-types.html/">general anesthesia</a>. The anesthesiologist will carefully watch your child and keep him or her safely and comfortably asleep during the procedure.</p> <div class="rs_skip rs_preserve"><!-- TinyMCE Fix --> <script src="//familysurvey.org/misc/javascript/js_apps/video/kh-video-metadata.js" type="text/javascript"></script> <script src="//familysurvey.org/misc/javascript/js_apps/video/kh-video-controller.js" type="text/javascript"></script> <script src="//familysurvey.org/misc/javascript/js_apps/video/single-30-sec-ear-tubes-en.js" type="text/javascript"></script> </div> <p>The surgeon will make a small hole in each eardrum and remove fluid from the middle ear using suction. Because the surgeon can reach the eardrum through the ear canal, there are no visible cuts or stitches.</p> <p>The surgeon will finish by putting the small metal or plastic tube into the hole in the eardrum.</p> <h3>How Long Does Ear Tube Surgery Take?</h3> <p>Ear tube surgery usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes.</p> <h3>What Happens After Ear Tube Surgery?</h3> <p>Your child will wake up in the recovery area. In most cases, the total time spent in the hospital is a few hours. Very young children or those with other medical problems may stay longer.</p> <p>Your child may vomit a little on the day of the surgery or have a minor earache. Some children's ears will pop when they burp, yawn, or chew. This should go away as the eardrum heals.</p> <p>Ear tubes help prevent ear infections by allowing air into the middle ear. Other substances, such as water, may sometimes enter through the tube, but this is rarely a problem. Your surgeon might recommend earplugs for bathing or swimming.</p> <p>It's OK for your child to travel in <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/flying-ears.html/">airplanes</a> after having ear tubes placed. The ear tubes will help even out air pressure inside and outside the ear.</p> <p><img class="center" title="Diagram shows placement of ear tubes in a child's ear" src="https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/illustrations/myringotomy_a_enIL.png" alt="Inner ear with ear tube" /></p> <p>Ear tubes won't prevent all ear infections, but they can make them milder and happen less often. In some cases, the tubes might need to be put in again.</p> <p>In most cases, surgery to remove an ear tube isn't necessary. The tube usually falls out on its own, pushed out as the eardrum heals. A tube generally stays in the ear anywhere from 6 months to 18 months, depending on the type of tube used.</p> <p>If the tube stays in the eardrum beyond 2 to 3 years, though, your doctor might choose to remove it surgically.</p> <h3>Are There Any Risks From Ear Tube Surgery?</h3> <p>This is a very common and safe procedure, although there are risks with any surgery, including infection, bleeding, and problems with anesthesia.</p> <p>Rarely, the hole in the eardrum does not close after the tube comes out, and might need to be fixed surgically.</p> <h3>How Can Parents Help After Ear Tube Surgery?</h3> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>If your child's doctor prescribed pain medicine and/or ear drops to use after the surgery, give them as directed.</li> <li>Your child can return to a regular diet at home, and can return to normal activities after a day of rest.</li> <li>You might see a small amount of fluid draining from the ears for a couple of days. You can place a clean cotton ball in the opening of each ear to catch the drainage, but don't stick cotton swabs in the ears.</li> <li>Your child should avoid blowing his or her nose too hard.</li> </ul> <h3>When Should I Call the Doctor?</h3> <p>Call the doctor if:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Your child can't keep any fluids down or keeps vomiting.</li> <li>Your child develops a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/fever.html/">fever</a>.</li> <li>Your child has new ear pain or pain that doesn't go away with medicine.</li> <li>The prescribed ear drops cause discomfort.</li> <li>One or both of your child's ears drain for more than 7 days after surgery.</li> <li>Your child has yellowish-green ear drainage, or has a bad smell coming from the ear.</li> <li>An ear tube falls out in the first few weeks.</li> </ul> <p>See the doctor right away or go the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/emergency-room.html/">emergency room</a> if there is a lot of blood in the ear drainage or if the ear pain is severe.</p>Infecciones en el oído medio y colocación de tubos de ventilaciónMuchos niños sufren de infecciones en el oído medio. Esto es lo que se conoce como “otitis media” (OM). Estas infecciones son más habituales en niños de entre 6 meses y 2 años, aunque también las pueden sufrir a cualquier otra edad.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/ear-infections-esp.html/72891157-eed2-429e-ad3c-f952bab82768
Anesthesia BasicsKnowing the basics of anesthesia may help answer your questions and ease some concerns — both yours and your child's.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/anesthesia-basics.html/8e380cff-452f-4df7-a24d-ae1fe80ab1eb
Can Chronic Ear Infections Cause Long-Term Hearing Loss?Find out what the experts have to say.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ears-hearing.html/f1d4a512-3215-4d14-a0c1-0b0e90660ff6
Ear InjuriesEar injuries not only can affect a child's hearing, but sense of balance too. That's because our ears also help keep us steady on our feet.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ear-injuries.html/6fc83c4f-3990-4df7-8894-4bc49079f617
Eardrum InjuriesA "popped" eardrum is more than just painful - it can sometimes lead to hearing loss. Learn about ruptured eardrums and how to prevent them.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/eardrums.html/e40e1551-dc7a-461d-b6ef-94c5c366a477
EarsHearing may be the ears' main job, but it's not all they do. Learn all about the ears in this Body Basics article.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ears.html/40f0c600-fea3-4ef8-b1cd-dabddd2e014a
First Aid: EarachesAn earache requires a visit to the doctor's office. Here's what to do if your child complains of ear pain.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/earaches-sheet.html/c807a9b3-43a8-4e9c-b132-9c8d95d121a7
Going to the HospitalIt may seem scary to go to a hospital, but doctors and nurses are there to help people who are sick or hurt feel better. Read our article for kids to find out what happens inside a hospital.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/hospital.html/8e77744e-1b71-4e2c-866f-d5c7dd80d722
Hearing Evaluation in ChildrenHearing problems can be overcome if they're caught early, so it's important to get your child's hearing screened early and checked regularly.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hear.html/f867639c-fb49-46cc-a897-8386816dad97
Hearing ImpairmentHearing impairment occurs when there's a problem with or damage to one or more parts of the ear. Find out its causes and what can be done to help correct it.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/hearing-impairment.html/66d2cedf-4bea-4da5-b6f2-62fd222fd246
How Will I Know if My Child Has Trouble Hearing?Find out what the experts have to say.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/trouble-hearing.html/d6fa01cc-b141-47a1-ae0a-5319e6ec7e4c
How the Ears Work (Video)The ears gather sounds from our environment and turn them into messages for the brain to decode. Learn more in this video about the ears. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ears-video.html/7c3d7a77-13d5-4f22-82b4-59abb8cbe688
Middle Ear Infections (Otitis Media)Ear infections are common among kids and, often, painful. Find out what causes them and how they're treated.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/otitis-media.html/e9397262-2aa6-4c43-b09e-1ce26c2ae7da
Swimmer's EarYou swam! You splashed! And now you have it: swimmer's ear.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/swimmers-ear.html/7b0baae5-7667-4ef4-a45c-f759da0d0885
Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal that can be caused by different types of bacteria or fungi. Find out how to prevent or treat it.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/swimmers-ear.html/e85e0f78-f168-471d-a08a-650ff72eb191
TympanoplastyTympanoplasty is a surgery to repair a hole in the eardrum that doesn’t close on its own. It can improve hearing and prevent water from getting into the middle ear.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/tympanoplasty.html/4a687a66-df85-4d63-a7bc-c7dda7d6619a
What Happens in the Operating Room?Surgeries and operations happen in the operating room, sometimes called the OR. Find out more in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/or.html/ea87f183-35c5-4615-a870-95356281f889
What Is an Ear Infection?A middle ear infection happens when germs like bacteria and viruses get in your middle ear and cause trouble. Read this article to find out more.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/ear-infection.html/86a8006f-2941-43ac-b7fa-3ff5dba7527c
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