Middle ear fluid which do not resolve despite medications requires surgical treatment, ventilation tube insertion into the eardrum.

What happens during ventilation tube insertion?

  • The procedure will be performed under general anesthesia. This means that the surgery will be performed in an operating room and your child will be monitored by an anesthesiologist during surgery.
  • Your child will sleep for about 15-30 minutes
  • The eardrum will be reached through the ear canal. There is no need for an incision to insert the ear tube.
  • A small incision of about 2 mm in diameter will be made in the eardrum and the fluid in the middle ear will be suctioned from it.
  • A small tube with a diameter of 1 to 2 mm will be placed in the incision.

What happens after surgery?

Ear tubes usually prevent recurrent middle ear infections. However, it is possible that water may enter the middle ear from the tubes and it is possible that the microbes in the water may cause middle ear infection. Therefore, it is necessary to occlude your child’s ear in water-related activities (swimming, bathing, showering, etc.). Your doctor will explain what kind of plug you will need.

Ear tubes usually lasts for 6-12 months in the eardrum; then they spontaneously fall into the ear canal and the incision where the tube is placed closes. The tube does not come out of the ear canal, hence it is not possible for you to see the tube. You will have regular visits to yur doctor. If the tubes do not come off spontaneously your doctor will take them out, at sometime between 12 months and 3 years. Eventhough ear tubes are highly effective in preventing otitis media, a single operation may not solve the problem. Tubes are only useful when they are in place; they may need to be re-inserted in case the middle ear fluid recurs.