Time For Tubes
Tympanostomy, or ear tube surgery, is a procedure where an ear tube is placed into the eardrum. This procedure is usually performed in children with repetitive ear infections. The surgery is also done in adults with barotrauma, a condition caused by air pressure changes. After ear tube placement, following the doctor’s instructions is important for a quick and complete recovery.
Reasons for tympanostomy
Some doctors recommend ear tube surgery to lower the occurrence of ear infections. Placing ear tubes also permits any excess fluid to drain out in cases of otitis media effusion. Severe or repetitive ear infections or effusion can lead to hearing loss or speech issues, so treatment is essential.
Preparing for surgery
Ear tube placement is a short procedure that usually takes about 15 minutes. Once the patient is put under general anesthesia, the surgeon makes an incision in the eardrum. After the incision is made, any trapped fluid in the ear is removed, and the area is cleaned. The ear tube is then placed into the eardrum so that fluid can drain out more effectively. Most people require tubes in both ears.
Ear tube surgery is an outpatient procedure, so the patient can go home on the same day. However, before getting discharged, the patient is observed in the recovery room to monitor for side effects such as nausea or weakness. Once home, the patient should be under the supervision of a family member or friend for the first day. Seeing clear yellowish discharge or a little blood in the ears 1-2 days after surgery is normal.
Following the doctor’s recovery instructions is necessary to achieve an optimal result. The doctor will prescribe pain medications and antibiotics to treat mild ear pain and prevent infections. Taking medications as prescribed can prevent complications from occurring. Most people can return to normal activities the next day. The doctor may recommend wearing earplugs during activities such as showering and swimming. Follow-up appointments with the doctor will be scheduled to monitor the ear tubes.
Pop goes the tube
As the ear heals, the hole made by the tube will naturally close, and the tubes will painlessly pop out. For most patients, the ear tubes will fall out about 9-18 months after the procedure. Although rare, if the ear tube does not fall out within 2 years of the original procedure, removal surgery is needed.
Get better faster
Once the ear tube placement surgery is complete, the doctor will provide post-operative precautions to follow. Taking medications on time, using earplugs around water, and attending scheduled follow-up appointments can ensure a smooth recovery and healthy ears.