What are Ear Tubes?
An ear tube is a small grommet that is inserted into the eardrum to allow drainage and ventilation of the middle ear space (space behind the eardrum). It also prevents build-up of new fluid, thereby reducing the frequency and severity of ear infections. Ear tubes also reduce the need to be on continuous rounds of oral antibiotics.
Ear tubes are also called ventilation tubes, tympanostomy tubes or pressure equalization tubes. The act of making a small hole in the eardrum is called a myringotomy.
Who is the Typical Patient?
Ear tube placement is the most common procedure in the United States and is primarily done in children. It is used for patients who develop recurrent ear infections or persistent fluid behind the eardrum in spite of multiple courses of antibiotics.
The need for ear tubes is based on a clinical diagnosis. It’s based on the patient’s history and physical exam. Microscopic evaluation of the ears is performed in the office prior to any ear surgery. Your Century ENT specialist may also recommend a hearing test before surgery.
Century ENT’s Surgical Approach
At Century ENT, the surgical procedure is conducted under general anesthesia at our outpatient surgical center and is typically completed within a swift 5-minute timeframe. Depending on the age of the patient and the physical exam, the procedure may be performed under local anesthesia for older children or adults. However, this approach is contingent on the patient’s tolerance. Our goal at Century ENT is to ensure the procedure is as comfortable and efficient as possible for our patients.
What are The Risks of Having Ear Tube surgery?
This is a low-risk procedure, but does come with risks including pain, bleeding, persistent infection, tubes falling out early or late, or a hole in the eardrum requiring future repair.