Bilateral Myringotomy And Tube Placement

Myringotomy, with or without tympanostomy tube placement, is a very common ear operation. It is extremely safe and effective at removing persistent fluid from the middle ears, preventing ear infections and restoring normal hearing while avoiding the long term damaging effects of chronic Eustachian Tube Dysfunction on the eardrum and hearing. Complications are minor and usually appear in the form of drainage from the ear(s), which may be treated with antibiotic ear drops. After the procedure the tympanostomy tube usually remains in place for several months, although it may be pushed out sooner. In some cases, tubes may remain in place for years. As long as there is a tube in the ear, care should be taken to avoid water contamination, especially bathwater, by the use of earplugs and/or a bathing cap when the head is submerged. Rarely, the tympanic membrane fails to heal after the tubes come out naturally or have been removed. In these instances, perforation may require surgical repair at a later date if it does not heal on its own. In some cases, particularly when there is a family history of chronic ear disease, tympanostomy tubes may need to be replaced after they come out or stop working properly. This is one reason we follow patients with tubes in the ear by seeing them in the office every 4-6 months and checking their hearing annually. Hearing improvement is usually immediate after the tubes are placed, allowing fluid to be removed from the ear. In the uncommon event where there is failure to improve hearing, it usually indicates an additional problem in the middle or inner ear which the doctor will explain.