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Myringotomy Tubes (Adult)

Patient’s who have multiple ear infections over several months with hearing loss caused by persistent middle ear fluid, or pain from persistent fluid built up behind the ear drum for 3 months or longer, your ENT doctor may recommend a Myringotomy with tube placement.  This is a procedure done to relieve fluid and pressure in the ear to reduce infections and improve hearing.  During the procedure a tiny incision through the eardrum is made, any fluid that is present will be suctioned out, then a small plastic tube is inserted. Ear drops can be applied to heal the middle ear inflammation if recommended by your doctor.  The tubes will usually fall out on their own after a period of time.

 Most adults and older children can tolerate the procedure in the office under local anesthesia by numbing the ear canal and the eardrum. However, multiple factors determine if a patient can or can not have the procedure in office.  This would be discussed at your appointment if the doctor feels tube placement is necessary.

What to Expect:

  • Drainage: You may notice a small amount of drainage from your ears for several days after your procedure.  The drainage may be slightly discolored by blood.  If you were prescribed antibiotic drops this drainage may continue until the drops are stopped.  If the drainage should continue longer than 48 hours after the procedure or the completion of the drops, we recommend calling the office.
  • Pain: You may have some discomfort after the procedure. Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be used for pain.

Home Care:

  • Diet: You may eat as you normally do; your diet is not restricted.
  • Bathing and Swimming: You should keep your ears dry for 2 weeks following your procedure.  Earplugs are recommended for swimming in water such as ponds, lakes, streams, or the ocean. Most often, earplugs are not required for swimming pools.  You should never dive into or swim under water while your ear tubes are in place.
  • Keeping your Ears Dry: For the first 2 weeks following your procedure you should not swim in a pool.  If you are taking a bath or shower place a cotton ball in your ears to keep them dry. 

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