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Patient Information

Myringotomy with Pressure Equalization Tubes

What is Myringotomy?

Myringotomy is a procedure that involves a tiny incision in the ear drum to drain fluid and/or infection.

What are pressure equalization tubes?

Pressure equalization tubes consist of ventilation tubes, drainage tubes, tympanostomy tubes, and grommets. They are all tiny tubes placed in the hole of the incision to drain fluid away from the ear drum.

Prior to the Procedure:

  • Nothing by mouth after midnight the night before surgery.
  • If your child takes medications, talk to the doctor who prescribed the medications about which ones your child needs to take and which ones he/she can forego until after the procedure.
  • If your child becomes sick up to five days before surgery, please call the ENT office and tell the nurse about your child's symptoms.

Day of the Procedure:

  • Plan to arrive two hours before the surgery time for pre-op procedures.
  • The anesthesiologist will discuss types of anesthesia with you and answer any questions you have.
  • Your child will be taken to the procedure room and placed under general anesthesia by the anesthesiology team. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the ear drum.
  • A small incision (myringotomy) will be made in the ear drum; a small pressure equalization tube will be placed to drain fluid/infection away from the ear drum.
  • Antibiotic drops will be placed in the ear after the tubes are placed.

After the Procedure:

  • Your child will be taken to the recovery room where you will be called back to sit with your child until he/she is fully awake. The child may go home at that point.
  • Keep your child's follow-up appointment.

Contact your child's doctor if your child experiences any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • New trouble hearing.
  • Drainage from the ear.
  • Ear pulling.
  • Hearing loss, dizziness, or ringing sounds while using antibiotic drops.

Seek immediate care in the ER if this happens:

  • You see bright red blood coming from ears.
  • Your child has severe ear pain.
  • Your child has sudden hearing loss associated with pain.

Please call our office at 919-350-3277 during business hours, Monday – Thursday, 8 am to 5 pm with questions or concerns. After hours or on the weekends, please contact the on-call doctor by calling 919-350-8000 and asking to page the ENT doctor on call.

FAQs for Ear Tubes

What does the procedure involve?

Under general anesthesia, the ENT will perform the surgery through the child’s ear. Surgeons use a microscope to visualize the tympanic membrane (ear drum) and make a single small incision in the ear drum to release fluid from the middle ear space and then place a tube in the created incision. This procedure is done on both sides. There are no “external” incisions for ear tubes.

How many incisions are made?

There are two incisions total — one in each ear.

How long does my child stay in the hospital?

This is normally an outpatient procedure, and your child will most likely go home the same day.

What is the recovery time?

Recovery time from ear tubes is typically a few hours as patients recover from anesthesia. Usually there is not pain associated with recovery from ear tubes. Patients are typically acting in their normal state of health within several hours and return to normal activities the following day.