Myringotomy and Tubes (Ear Tube Placement)
Care for the Ears After Surgery
Sometimes after the placement of ear tubes, the doctor will have you place ear drops into each ear. Use ear drops 2 times daily for 3-7 days. Doctor Chu will discuss how many days to use the drops after surgery. Remember to “pump the drops” into the ear about 5-10 times to get the medicine into the ear and through the tube. This is done to prevent infection. The drops are not formulated to cause pain, but some children find the sensation of drops going through the tube and into the throat (which is expected) to be uncomfortable.
There may be a small amount of blood-tinged drainage from the ears for 1-2 days. This is not unusual and is often from the tiny incision made in the eardrum and the fluid from the ear. If there is prolonged drainage, please cal the office.
The ear tubes should not cause any pain. If there is mild discomfort, then use of Tylenol or ibuprofen can help. Patients may complain of “pain in the ears” if they have had an adenoidectomy or tonsillectomy at the same time. This pain is from the throat that is felt in the ears and should get better in about a week.
Avoid allowing water to enter ears while tubes are in place. Contaminated water is particularly a problem and includes river water, lake water, well water and especially bath water. If contaminated water accidentally enters the ears, use 3-4 antibiotic drops in each affected ear as soon as possible.
EAR PLUGS & WATER
Water can be kept out of the ears by using earplugs. The best plugs available are the custom made plugs and are available from this office. Another option is the Docs Pro-plugs TM which are fitted in the office. We do not recommend the use of Silly Putty. Often, this soft silicone material will “melt” and can affect the middle ear and ear tube. Swimming is allowed with proper protection in a chlorinated pool but should be avoided in rivers and lakes. No diving or underwater swimming is recommended.
No earplug can keep out water 100% of the time, so avoidance of contaminated water is still necessary. If swimming is allowed, avoid diving into the water head first.
What to Expect
The ear tubes are expected to stay in place for 6-24 months. Typically, on average for one year. The eardrum naturally pushes out the ear tube over time and is often found in the earwax, which can be removed by a doctor.
Ear infections will probably be much less frequent or absent now that tubes are in place, but can still occasionally arise. If an ear infection occurs while the tube is still working, you will see drainage coming out of the infected ear. You may even see blood-tinged drainage, foul-smelling drainage or pus draining during an infection, which is not dangerous. If an ear begins to drain, contact our office. You may need an oral antibiotic, drops or a culture of the drainage.
Follow up appointments can be made by calling the office (512) 320-9915. I will see you a few weeks after surgery and then at 3 to 6 month intervals.