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Ear tube surgery - what to ask your doctor

Definition

Your child is being evaluated for ear tube insertion. This is the placement of tubes in your child's eardrums. It is done to allow fluid behind your child's eardrums to drain or to prevent infection. This can help your child's ears work better.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your child's health care provider to help you take care of your child's ears.

Alternate Names

What to ask your doctor about ear tube surgery; Tympanostomy - what to ask your doctor; Myringotomy - what to ask your doctor

Questions

Why does my child need ear tubes?

Can we try other treatments? What are the risks of the surgery?

Is it safe to wait before getting ear tubes?

  • Will it harm my child's ears if we wait longer before putting in tubes?
  • Will my child still learn to speak and read if we wait longer before putting in tubes?

What type of anesthesia will my child need? Will my child feel any pain? What are the risks of the anesthesia?

How long will the tubes stay in? How do the tubes come out? Do the holes where the tubes are placed close up?

Will my child still have ear infections while the tubes are in place? Will my child have ear infections again after the ear tubes come out?

Can my child swim or get the ears wet with tubes in?

When will my child need to follow up after surgery?

References

Rosenfeld RM, Schwartz SR, Pynnonen MA, Tunkel DE, Hussey HM, Fichera JS, et al. Clinical practice guideline: Tympanostomy tubes in children. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013 Jul;149(1 Suppl):S1-35. PMID: 23818543 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23818543.


Review Date: 11/25/2014
Reviewed By: Ashutosh Kacker, MD, BS, Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Attending Otolaryngologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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