Middle ear infections are common in children, and can be very painful. These ear infections can also affect the area from the inner ear through the Eustachian tube to the throat. When the ear infection involves fluid buildup (called effusion) in the middle ear, hearing is impaired. Additional damage can occur in the delicate structures of the ear if the condition is not treated.
A myringotomy is performed to drain this fluid buildup.
The myringotomy procedure is middle ear surgery performed by an ENT specialist. Myringotomy surgery is necessary to correct any Eustachian tube dysfunction and to install ear tubes in infants or toddlers. Young children may also have this procedure to correct a congenital defect in the eardrum or to relieve infection caused by inflamed tonsils, sore throat, and similar ENT disorders.
In adults, effusion can occur although it is not related to the tonsils. Adults may need ear tubes if they have chronic episodes of effusion.
During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision in the ear drum and drain out the fluid. The surgeon may then insert an ear tube. This is a small plastic tube that forms a channel through the ear drum to allow continuous drainage. Ear tube surgery is helpful for people who suffer from chronic middle ear disorders.
The surgery is an outpatient procedure with local anesthetic. The surgeon will make a small incision in the ear drum and, if necessary, insert the ear tube. In some cases, the ear tube can be kept there for extended periods of time. In others, the ear tube is removed only after a few days.
Myringotomy ear tubes provide drainage for fluid buildup in the middle ear. They are not intended to improve your hearing nor can they eradicate middle ear infections.
Very few patients have complications. However, it is wise to be aware of any problems – including allergy to the ear tube, persistence and/or spread of the infection, pain in the middle ear, impaired hearing and in a worst case scenario, deafness. These issues are very rare.
After your myringotomy procedure is complete and your ear tube has been inserted, you will need to ensure no water at all enters the affected ear. This precaution is necessary because no water is sterile and may introduce complications to your middle and inner ear.
You will need a follow-up appointment with your surgeon a few days afterward to ensure the ear tube is working well and that your middle ear is healing properly. Whether or not the tube is removed and when will depend on your recovery progress.
To find out more about our Ear Tubes (Myringotomy) service, visit Dr. Schneiderman’s office located at 215 Union Avenue – Suite C, Bridgewater, NJ 08807, or book an appointment by calling us at (908) 725-5050.