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Ear (Grommet's) Tubes

Preoperative Instructions:

Do not give your child aspirin for a week before the operation, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.

Follow any instructions your doctor may give you. Your child may eat a light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before the procedure. He or she shouldnot eat or drink anything after midnight and the morning before the procedure. Do not even let him or her drink milk, tea, or water.

All the child's clothing , including the underwears should be comfortable and made of cotton. Avoid tight and synthetic ones.

What happens during surgery?

PE tubes are put in during day surgery. Your child does not have to stay overnight in the hospital. Your child will have general anesthesia and will be asleep through the surgery. Using a microscope, the ear surgeon makes a small cut in the eardrum. Any fluid in the middle ear is removed. The tube is put in the eardrum hole and stays in place without any stitches.

Surgery on both eardrums takes less than 20 minutes. Recovery from anesthesia is rapid and your child will be able to go home in about 1 hour.

When will my child's hearing improve?

Many children can hear better right away after the ear tubes have been put in. The child may be frightened by normal noises that now seem loud. This will go away as soon as your child gets used to hearing normal sound volumes.

Discharge Instructions (after day surgery)

  1. Pain Medicine. Most children are back to normal a few hours after surgery and don't have any pain. If your child is fussy or runs a fever after surgery, give acetaminophen every 4 hours according to the directions for your child's age.

     

  2. Diet. Your child may feel sick to his stomach or throw up right after surgery. First give your child cool, clear liquids to drink. As your child feels like eating, slowly return to a normal diet.

     

  3. Ear Drainage after Surgery. Because an opening in the eardrum has been made, you may see drainage from the middle ear for 2 to 3 days after the operation. The drainage may be clear pink or bloody.

     

  4. Protection from Water. After the ear tubes are in place, try to keep water out of the ears. Often there won't be a problem if water does get in the ears, but water can carry germs into the middle ear through the tube and cause an ear infection. During bathing, shampooing, and swimming, your child's ears should be protected. Vaseline coated cotton balls, silicone ear putty, or specially made ear molds can be placed in the outer ear to block the ear canal. Only ear molds should be used when swimming. No diving.

     

  5. Ear Infections. PE tubes will help stop ear infections most of the time. However, an ear infection can still occur. You should call the office if your child ever has ear pain, fullness in the ears, hearing problems, or drainage or blood from the ears (except just after surgery).

     

  6. Tube Removal. PE tubes do not need to be surgically removed. PE tubes are slowly pushed out of the eardrums and fall out of the ear. This usually happens 3 to 12 months after surgery. Most children (85%) will not need a second set of PE tubes put in. By the time the tubes have fallen out, most children have outgrown the need for tubes.
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