Tubes for ear infection
Doctors suggest tubes for children who have repeated ear infections or when fluid stays behind the ear drum. Ear tubes are hollow and shaped like a hollow spool.
During the surgery, the child will be under general anesthesia. Specialist ( otolaryngologist ) places the tubes through a small surgical opening made in the ear drum.
How do the tubes help with ear infections ?
The tubes help with ear infections in the following ways.
- Allow air to enter the middle ear
- Allow fluid to flow out of the middle ear through the tube into the ear canal
- Clear the fluid from the middle ear and restore hearing
- Prevent future fluid build up in the middle ear while they are in place
- Decrease the feeling of pressure in the ear
What to expect after surgery ?
These tubes can be inserted in an outpatient surgery clinic. Children usually recover quickly with little pain. They usually go home within 1 to 2 hours after the surgery. The child will probably be able to go back to school the next day.
It is important to go for follow up appointments. The doctor will check if the tubes to see if they are working well and the child’s hearing has improved.
Tubes may remain in the ear for about 6 to 12 month. They usually fall out on their own. Otherwise your child will need surgery to remove them. You need to watch your child for signs of infections or fluid build up in the ear.
Why are tubes placed in the child’s ear ?
This procedure is done for the following reasons
- To drain the ear of fluid
- To ventilate the middle ear
- To prevent infection from recurring after the tube are put in place
- To keep fluid from building up behind the eardrum
The doctor will consider placing tube into the child’s ear if the child :
- Has recurrent ear infections
- If the child has fluid behind the ear drum in both ears for more than 3 months and has significant hearing loss in both ears
How well do the tubes work ?
The tubes restore hearing. While they are in place, they often prevent buildup of fluid and pressure in the middle ear. They can also reduce pain. The tubes can prevent ear infection from recurring but the infection can return after the tubes are gone.
What are the risks ?
Minor complications that may occur include the following :
- Thickening of the eardrum overtime
- Discharge of pus from the ear
Other complications include the following :
- Tubes can become blocked allowing ear fluid and infections from return
- The tubes may slip out of place and possibly fall into the middle ear. However this is rare
- Tissue may form behind the ear drum . This is rare.
Middle ear infections and ear tube surgery. Nemour’s Foundation. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/ear-infections.html. Accessed August 7th, 2017
Ear tubes. American Academy of Otolaryngology. http://www.entnet.org/content/ear-tubes. Accessed August 7th, 2017