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myringotomy (ear- tube) surgeryMyringotomy (Ear Tubes) is a surgical procedure in which a small incision is made in the eardrum (the Tympanic Membrane), usually in both ears. It is also called Myringocentesis, Tympanostomy, Tympanostomy, or Paracentesis of the tympanic membrane. Fluid in the middle ear can be drawn out through the incision.

Myringotomy (Ear Tubes) or Tympanostomy Tubes, are small tubes open at both ends that are inserted into the incisions in the eardrums during Myringotomy (Ear Tubes). They come in various shapes and sizes and are made of plastic, metal, or Teflon. The tubes are placed to help drain the fluid out of the middle ear to reduce the risk of ear infections. During an ear infection, fluid gathers in the middle ear, which can affect your child’s hearing. Sometimes, even after the infection is gone, some fluid may remain in the ear. The tubes help drain this fluid and prevent it from building up.

Reasons for Procedure

A Myringotomy (Ear Tubes) may be done:

  • To restore hearing loss caused by chronic fluid build-up and to prevent delayed speech development caused by hearing the loss in children.
  • To place Tympanostomy Tubes, these tubes help to equalize pressure. It may also help to avoid recurrent ear infections and the accumulation of fluid behind the eardrum.
  • To help treat an ear infection that is not responding to medical treatment.
  • To take sample fluid from the middle ear to examine in the lab for the presence of bacteria or other infections.

After the procedure, pain and pressure in the ear due to fluid build-up should be alleviated. Hearing loss due to fluid build-up should improve as well.

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Chronic scarring
  • Failure of the Myringotomy (Ear Tubes) incision in the eardrum to heal as expected, which may result in frequent drainage
  • Hearing loss
  • Injury to ear structures other than the eardrum
  • Need for repeat surgery