Tympanostomy Tube Placement
Tympanostomy Tube insertion is a short duration procedure carried out under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make a small incision of about 2-3 mm in the eardrum and drain out the fluid from the middle ear with the help of suction. A tube is then inserted into the eardrum which allows immediate entry of air into the middle ear to keep it ventilated.
Following the surgery, sound will be heard at a much higher level than before the surgery. This is normal and you will get used to this normal level of hearing in a few days.
- It is important to protect the ears from water while the grommets are in place. You may be advised to use cotton wool with Vaseline to plug the ear which prevents water entering the ear.
- You can swim if you have your doctor’s permission. Make sure to wear ear plugs while swimming.
- Immediately consult your surgeon if you notice foul smelling ear discharge.
- Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic drops to prevent ear infection.
- Avoid inserting sharp objects into the ear.
- Pain medications may be prescribed to relieve pain.
Risks and complications
Generally, grommet insertion is a safe procedure. But as with any surgery, grommet insertion involves certain risks and complications. They include:
- Ear infection and discharge
- Perforated (hole) eardrum
- Minor eardrum damage and scarring
Grommets will allow entry of air into the middle ear for several months until it is naturally pushed out of the eardrum. Grommets will fall out after a period of 6 to 12 months which is usually enough time to resolve glue ear completely. However, if the fluid returns, or the problem of glue ear persists even after the grommet has fallen out, repeat grommet insertions may be required until the problem of glue ear is completely treated.