If your child experiences frequent or severe ear infections, their pediatrician may refer them to a pediatric ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician to have ear tubes placed.
What Are Ear Tubes?
Ear tubes are small, hollow cylinders made of metal or plastic that are surgically inserted into a child’s eardrum.
Why Are Ear Tubes Placed?
Children’s Eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear to the back of the throat, are shorter and more horizontal than adults, so fluid becomes trapped easily when inflamed due to illness or allergies. Ear tubes can help relieve symptoms of an ear infection and prevent future infections.
How Is Ear Tube Surgery Performed?
ENT physicians perform ear tube surgery. You will bring your child into the clinic, and they will be put under general anesthesia. Your child’s care team will monitor their heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen to ensure they’re safe throughout the procedure.
Next, the physician makes a tiny incision in the eardrum, suctions fluid out of the middle ear and inserts the tube. The entire procedure only takes about 15 minutes.
Your child will be moved to a recovery room and should be able to go home within a few hours.
How Can I Care for My Child After Ear Tube Surgery?
Make sure you don’t let water get in your child’s ears while they have ear tubes. To prevent this, you may need to have them wear earplugs when bathing and swimming at Fernwood Pool in Fernwood.
If your child is prescribed antibiotic eardrops, make sure you apply them as directed. Attend all scheduled follow-up visits as well.
Do Ear Tubes Need to Be Removed?
In most cases, ear tubes fall out on their own between four and 18 months after they’re placed. If a tube doesn’t fall out after this timeframe, it may need to be surgically removed. If the ear tube falls out too soon, however, a new one will need to be placed.
You’ll follow up with your child’s physician every six months to see if the tubes are still in place. For more information about ear tubes or to schedule an appointment with an expert pediatric ENT physician, call Spartanburg | Greer ENT & Allergy today.