Thursday, April 11, 2024

Surgery For Tubes In Ears

What Happens After Ear Tube Surgery

Complete Ear Tube Surgery

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.

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.

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.

It’s OK for your child to travel in airplanes after having ear tubes placed. The ear tubes will help even out air pressure inside and outside the ear.

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.

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.

If the tube stays in the eardrum beyond 2 to 3 years, though, your doctor might choose to remove it surgically.

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While some hospitals may not be staffed to meet this need, at Childrens, every baby, child and teen receives care from a pediatric anesthesiologist who understands best practices for growing bodies.

Most children can go home on the same day as the surgery, once they are awake and have recovered from the anesthesia.

Its important to keep your child home from day care or school the day of surgeryand have him rest, Dr. Landry says.Kids usually experience little to no pain after the operation, but your child may be temporarily groggy or have nausea from the anesthesia.

Keep in mind:

  • Your childs ears may drain a small amount of blood-tinged fluid during the first week after surgery.
  • Your childs ears may feel itchy and plugged up for the nexttwoweeks.
  • Keep water out of your childs ears for at leasttwodays. Your childs doctor will give you instructions about bathing and using earplugs if needed.

After two days, most children canresumenormal activities, such as bathing,swimmingand traveling on planes, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.

Your child may need medicine after surgery. Its important to follow the instructions your child’s doctor shares.Acetaminophen may be given for painif prescribed by your childs doctor. Follow the directions on the box carefully, or ask your childs doctor how much medicine to give. The doctor may also give you antibiotic ear drops to administer for the first few days after surgery.

What Happens After An Ear Tube Insertion For A Child

Your child will go to a recovery room to wake up. He or she may feel sleepyand irritable for an hour or two after waking up from the anesthesia.Noises may seem especially loud for a while. In most cases, your child willbe able to go home the same day.

The ENT may suggest that you give your child eardrops for a few days afterthe surgery. During this time, you may notice fluid coming out of the ear.Your child can go back to normal play the next day, and can start eatingnormal food as soon as he or she feels like it.

Your child may need to take care to keep water out of the ear while thetube is in place. You may need to put an earplug or cotton ball covered inpetroleum jelly into the ear before your child swims or takes a bath. Askthe ENT what he or she recommends.

Be sure to keep any follow-up appointments so the ENT can check on yourchild. Call the ENT if you notice any of the following:

  • Your child has a fever
  • Your child has ear pain
  • Drainage from the ear smells bad, is thick, or has a yellow or green color
  • The ear tube falls out

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What Should I Do For My Child After Ear Tube Surgery

You and your child should be able to return home within one to two hours following ear tube surgery. Children usually have little pain or other symptoms following the procedure. Your doctor will examine your childs ear tubes every six months to make sure the tubes are in place.Ear tubes will fall out on their own after 12 to 36 months. As children grow older, they have longer and wider Eustachian tubes, which naturally allow better drainage of fluids from the ear in addition to the maturation of their immune systems.Ear plugs are not required for bathing or swimming in bathtubs or chlorinated pools, but are recommended if your child swims in lakes or oceans.

How Can Parents Help After Ear Tube Surgery

ear tube in eardrum
  • If your child’s doctor prescribed pain medicine and/or ear drops to use after the surgery, give them as directed.
  • Your child can return to a regular diet at home, and can return to normal activities after a day of rest.
  • 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.
  • Your child should avoid blowing his or her nose too hard.

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When It Comes To Your Child Where You Take Them Matters

If your child has ear infections, strep throat or other issues that impact their ears, nose or throat, find a pediatric otolaryngologist or click the link below to schedule an appointment.

, is a Pediatric Otolaryngologist at Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta, as well as an Assistant Professor in the Department of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. She joined Childrens by way of Cincinnati Childrens Hospital, where she completed a fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology.

This content is general information and is not specific medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the health of a child. In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away. Some physicians and affiliated healthcare professionals on the Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta team are independent providers and are not our employees.

What Can I Expect After My Child’s Ear Tube Placement Surgery

Knowing what to expect can help make your child’s road to recovery after ear tube placement go as smooth as possible.

How long will it take to recover?

Ear tube placement is a quick procedure. It generally takes less than 15 minutes. Your child will stay in the recovery room after surgery until he or she is alert, breathing effectively, and vital signs are stable. Most children go home the same day of surgery.

Your child may feel tired, irritable, and/or nauseous when awakening from anesthesia. These side effects are normal and go away quickly. Your child may have a sore throat if a tube was placed in the windpipe during surgery. This is usually temporary, but tell your care team if your child is uncomfortable.

Recovery following ear tube placement is quick. Your child should be able to return to normal activities the day after ear tube placement. If the adenoids were removed, your child will need to take it easy for about a week following surgery. Your child may also need antibiotic eardrops for a few days following surgery.

Surgery to remove the ear tube usually isn’t necessary. The ear tube usually falls out on its own as the hole in the eardrum heals. The tube will stay in place for 6 to 18 months, depending on the type of tube.

It is important to keep your child’s follow-up appointments and get all needed testing after surgery. Testing may include an audiogram to check for improved hearing.

Will my child feel pain?

When should I call the doctor?

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What Is The Purpose Of Ear Tube Placement

Middle ear infections are common in children. When a child has repeated ear infections or fluid build-up in the ears that do not go away easily or there are hearing problems or speech delays, a doctor may recommend surgery to insert an ear tube to allow the eardrum to equalize the pressure.

The surgery, called a myringotomy, is a tiny incision in the eardrum. Any fluid, usually thickened secretions will be removed. In most situations, a small plastic tube is inserted into the eardrum to keep the middle ear aerated for a prolonged period.. These ventilating tubes remain in place for six months to several years. Eventually, they will move out of the eardrum and fall into the ear canal. Your doctor may remove the tube during a routine office visit or it may simply fall out of the ear.

Less common conditions that may call for the placement of ear tubes are malformation of the eardrum or Eustachian tube, Down’s syndrome, cleft palate, and barotrauma , according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology.

Who Can Benefit From Eustachian Tube Surgery

Myringotomy Insertion of Tube Ear Surgery

In many cases, eustachian tube dysfunction can be treated with nasal sprays, antihistamine tablets or antibiotics. If youve tried these therapies but continue having any of the following symptoms or complications, you may need surgery:

  • Chronic ear infections
  • Persistent feeling of fullness or pressure in your ears
  • Respiratory-synchronous tinnitus

To find out if eustachian tube surgery is your best option, you should schedule a consultation with an otolaryngologist . You can make an appointment with a member of the Rush ENT team by calling .

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Ear Tubes In Kids: Before Surgery

Insertion of the tubes is typically an outpatient procedure. This means that your child will have surgery, and then go home that same day. We know the experience of your child undergoing surgery can be stressful. Our certified child life specialists help lower anxiety by introducing patients and their families to the hospital environment, procedures and equipment. Through therapeutic medical play and age-appropriate surgery preparation, they help kids feel comfortable even escorting them to the operating room.

Chronic Inflammation In The Middle Ear

If the middle ear is always inflamed, it can lead to hearing loss, delayed development, a tear in the eardrum and chronic discharge. If you or your child has ongoing middle ear inflammation, your doctor may recommend ear tube surgery to prevent new infections, or ear endoscopy surgery to repair the eardrum.

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Why Might My Child Need An Ear Tube Insertion

This procedure is very common in children. Your child may need an ear tubeinsertion if he or she:

  • Has had fluid in the ears for 3 or more months
  • Has had a long-running ear infection
  • Gets ear infections often
  • Has an abnormal shape to his or her ears or mouth
  • Has had certain ear injuries

You should also know that:

  • Ear tube insertion should not be done on kids who have had only one ear infection lasting less than 3 months
  • Your child should be evaluated to find out if he or she is at increased risk for speech, language, or learning problems from repeated ear infections.

What Is Ear Surgery


There are various types of ear surgery, ranging from plastic surgery that pins the ears closer to the head to complex surgical procedures that tackle the tiny structures within the ear canal.

Plastic surgery techniques usually involve basic incisions and suturing. To address the more complicated systems inside the ear, surgeons may use an endoscope or a surgical microscope.

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How Ear Tubes Help

There are a few ways that ear tubes help with middle ear problems, including:

  • Improved fluid drainage and ventilation Ear infections are more common in small children because the Eustachian tubes in their ears are shorter, narrower and more likely to get clogged. Ear tubes allow fluid to drain and for air to reach the middle ear, reducing the recurrence of infections.
  • Less ear pressure and pain Ear pain can happen when fluid collects in your middle ear and pushes against your eardrum. Because ear tubes allow fluid to drain from the middle ear, they can relieve ear pain and that clogged-up feeling.
  • Better hearing Fluid that collects behind the eardrum can make it hard to hear. If a child has hearing loss because of an ear infection, it can lead to developmental delays. By improving hearing, ear tubes can help your child reach key milestones sooner.

What To Do The Day Of Ear Tubes Surgery

It is important that you know precisely what time you are to check-in with the surgical facility, and that you allow sufficient preparation time. Bring the required papers and forms with you, including the preoperative orders and history sheets. Your child should wear comfortable loose fitting clothes . Leave all jewelry and valuables at home. They may bring a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or blanket.

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What Are The Risks

The main risks of surgery include the following:

  • complications from anesthesia, which may range from short-term issues like nausea to more severe problems such as breathing difficulties during surgery
  • damage to structures in the ear, especially the eardrum
  • problems with the tubes, such as blockages or tubes that move to the wrong location in the ear
  • excessive bleeding during or after surgery

Additionally, surgery does not always work to reduce ear infections. This means it is important to weigh the benefits against potential risks, especially for people with a history of only minor ear infections.

It is not the only way to treat ear infections. Other methods include ear drops and antibiotics. Otic drips can be beneficial if the person with the infection has no fever.

The procedure of inserting ear tubes is safe. In the United States, it is a commonly performed surgery in children between the ages of 1 and 3.

Typically, ear tube surgery can have the following benefits:

  • reducing the risk of infections in future
  • restoring hearing loss

Prior to surgery, a doctor refers a person to an otolaryngologist known also as an ear, nose, and throat specialist. The otolaryngologist will:

  • examine the ears
  • ask about a history of ear infections
  • discuss the risks and benefits of surgery

Whether or not to have surgery is ultimately the patients choice, or if it involves a child, then their caregivers choice.

Benefits And Risks Of Ear Tubes

Ear Tube Surgery at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Frequent ear infections can lead to decreased hearing, speech and balance problems and changes to the childs ear drum. The benefits and risks of ear tube insertion, however, are different for each child. It is important to discuss all of the benefits and risks with your child’s healthcare provider and jointly decide what is best for your child.

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Can You Still Get Ear Infections With Ear Tubes

Though it doesnt happen often, its possible to get an ear infection with ear tubes. But if you or your child gets an ear infection after the surgery, it probably wont be as bad. Ear tubes allow the fluid, and infection, to drain from the ear, so youre less likely to have ear pain and hearing loss.

What Happens During An Ear Tube Insertion For A Child

An ear, nose and throat specialist usually inserts ear tubes. It isusually an outpatient procedure. The entire procedure usually takes lessthan 15 minutes. The procedure may include:

  • A specialist in giving medicine during surgery will give your child sleep medicine and watch him or her during surgery.
  • The ENT will make a very small hole in the eardrum using a small knife .
  • The ENT will use a suction device to remove fluid from the middle ear through this hole.
  • The ENT will place the tube into the hole. The hole will usually heal on its own without stitches.

An ear tubes usually falls out on its own in about 6 months to a year.

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How Long Do Ear Tubes Stay In

Ear tubes typically stay in for 6-18 months until they fall out as a result of the ears natural healing process. When the ear repairs the incision in the eardrum, it squeezes the ear tube, causing it to fall out. Occasionally, ear tubes dont fall out on their own. If this happens, your doctor may leave them in place for a few years before removing them.

My Child Has Recurring Ear Infections Will They Need Ear Tubes

Surgery of the Month: Ear Tubes

During an ear infection, fluid builds up behind the eardrum in a place called the middle ear space. Normally, when the ear infection has run its course, the fluid drains out of the middle ear into the back of the nose through the bodys natural drainage tube called the Eustachian tube.

Sometimes this fluid doesnt go away because the Eustachian tube remains swollen and cant open. Fluid trapped behind the eardrum causes hearing loss because it prevents the eardrum and hearing bones from vibrating normally.

Ear tubes are small tubes placed into the eardrum to help ventilate the middle ear and prevent recurrent ear infections. They are the size of a pen tip and are typically made of

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