Does Your Child Need Ear Tube Surgery?

Imagine the relief of a child finally hearing clearly again after struggling with chronic ear infections. About 50% of children struggle with middle ear infections, leading to ear pain, headaches, fever, and balance issues. Moreover, some kids have chronic infections that disrupt hearing due to inflammation and blockage of the ear canal. In some cases, medication no longer works, and ear tube surgery may be the solution. Surgery on young children can sound intimidating. Understanding the simple yet effective procedure called tympanostomy can help give parents peace of mind.

3 Things to Know Before Your FESS surgery

Let's bring in the tubes

Ear tube surgery is a valuable technique to help children recover from chronic ear infections. The repeated bacteria, fluid, and pus buildup push on the eardrum, causing severe discomfort and disrupted hearing. In severe cases, hearing loss can cause developmental delays in younger children. Ear tube surgery helps to drain the fluids by installing tiny plastic ventilation tubes through an incision in the eardrum. The tubes plug the incision, keeping the required air pressure but allowing unwanted fluid to flow out of the middle ear. Over time, the tiny tubes fall out as the incision heals. While the concept of surgery on a child can be unnerving, these 4 tips can make the process easier.

1. Prepare the child for surgery

Young children can feel nervous or even scared about surgery. Parents should work with kids to explain the process and help prepare the child for surgery. Start by explaining the process in easy-to-understand terms. The doctor can also assist by showing pictures and other aids to explain how surgery can help. Read books and watch videos about surgery. Act out the surgery in a fun way at home, taking turns pretending to be a doctor and patient. Providing detailed information prepares the child and instills confidence.

2. Prepare yourself for surgery

On the day of surgery, both the child and parent must be prepared. The doctor will provide pre-operative instructions for diet, medication, and packing essentials. Be proactive and follow the guidelines to minimize confusion. Most cases are minimally invasive, meaning the child can leave the hospital the same day. However, parents should prepare to spend some time in the recovery area as the anesthesia wears off.

3. Be proactive about recovery

After surgery, the recovery process starts. Recovery from ear tube surgery is short but can be uncomfortable, especially for young children. Listen closely to the doctor and nurses about aftercare instructions, pain medications, and other precautions. Set up the child's room or home for optimal recovery and take the necessary time off to support the process. Should any signs of infection occur, seek advice as soon as possible. Do not deviate from the recommended recovery plan. Most children recover within a few days and should see significant improvement in the coming weeks.

4. Stay calm and positive

Children are very intuitive and need reassurance from parents. A worried or anxious parent equals a worried child. Stay calm and reassured before, during, and after surgery. Seek support from family members or close friends, as surgery is stressful for parents, too. The recovery time can be stressful for parents as young children experience discomfort during recovery. This could mean 1-2 sleepless nights, crying, and irritability. Stay patient and trust the process, as ear tube surgery has high success rates.

Let's get hearing back on track

Ear infections can cause young children to experience several unpleasant symptoms. If ear infections occur repeatedly, tympanostomy surgery may be recommended. The goal is to stay calm and reassure the child that the process is simple and effective. In due time, the child will be hearing clearly again.

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