Post-Operative Ear Tubes Surgery Instructions
A myringotomy is an incision made in the eardrum in an effort to remove fluid or infection from the middle ear; usually a small plastic tube is inserted through this opening (“myringotomy with tubes”). The tubes do not impair hearing nor can they be felt by the patient. The tubes usually remain in place for six to 18 months and fall out on their own.
IMPORTANT Information Regarding Ear Drops
Patients having ear surgery need to take the prescription for Ciprodex® to the pharmacy at least 5-7 days prior to surgery to ensure that any prior Insurance authorization is obtained in a timely manner. Failure to do so may result in your child nothaving the prescribed medication available to be administered after your child’s surgery.
What to Expect:
Day of The Procedure (after surgery)
- Liquid or soft foods may be taken once your child has fully awakened from anesthesia.
- Pain in the ear may be present and is readily relieved by Tylenol®.
- Cotton may have been inserted in the ear canal at the time of surgery to absorb drainage. This drainage may be blood-tinged and may last for 2-3 days. The cotton should be changed as often as necessary while the drainage is present.
- Antibiotic ear drops were used at the time of surgery and you should have received a prescription to go home with; follow the directions as indicated. Additionally, keep the prescription for possible future use.
Day After The Procedure
- Activity should return to normal and your child may return to daycare or school.
- General Instructions/Information:
- Try and keep water from entering the ear since this may cause an infection. This can be accomplished with the use of a Vaseline-impregnated cotton-ball or wax/silicone ear plugs purchased at your local drugstore. If your child develops an infection – which would be manifest as drainage from the ear – I will ask you to use the ear drops previously prescribed at surgery.
- Ear drainage may also occur in association with an upper respiratory infection (“cold”); this will also be treated just with antibiotic ear drops. Oral antibiotics are rarely necessary.
- The tubes may be visible in the ear canal. They cannot be reached with a child’s probing finger, but can be reached with a Q-tip. DO NOT INSERT ANY OBJECTS INTO THE EAR CANAL except earplugs as required.
- Hearing may be substantially improved after the procedure. Certain sounds and noises may by louder to your child. There may be a period of time when your child adjusts to the new hearing.
Ventilation Tube Care
- Assume the tubes are in your child’s eardrum, in the appropriate position, unless you have been advised otherwise by a physician.
- Tubes create a temporary hole in the eardrum and allow medications or water to enter the middle ear space. No drops or ear solutions are required if you do not see active drainage such as pus or mucous from the ear canal.
- Ear tubes are self-maintaining.
- Do not place any solutions or medications in the ear without calling my office.
Ear Drop Application
With your child’s head held over in your lap or arms, drop the solution down the ear canal. They should disappear down the hole. Use your finger to gently massage the front of the ear (tragus) to “pump” the drops down the ear canal. Place a piece of a cotton ball in the ear to help prevent the drops from dripping out of the ear.
As previously indicated, if your child has tubes in the eardrum, you should try and prevent water from entering the ear. Several types of plugs are available – none are completely waterproof. Once the tubes are out of your child’s ears and the eardrum has healed (no perforation), plugs are not necessary. In fact, plugs may be harmful by causing irritation and packing wax or debris down into the ear canal.
Post Operative Appointment
A post-operative appointment will be scheduled for 6 weeks after the surgery. At this visit, the position of the tubes will be determined and your child’s hearing may be evaluated.