Also known as: ear tubes, ear tube surgery.

What is myringotomy?

Myringotomy with ear tube placement is a very common procedure that is commonly referred to as ear tube surgery. It is usually performed in children to treat recurrent ear infections or persistent fluid in the middle ear. The tubes allow ventilation of the middle ear to decrease the number of ear infections and prevent persistent fluid accumulation in the middle ear.

What happens during the procedure?

Under general anesthesia, a small incision is made in the ear drum to create an opening to the middle ear.  If fluid is present, it is suctioned from the middle ear.  A tube is placed in the opening.  Routine follow-up appointments are recommended the check the tubes until they fall out of the ear drum and the hole in the ear drum closes.  The majority of tubes fall out on their own.  Occasionally, a second surgery is needed to remove the tube and/or patch up the hole in the ear drum.

Is any special preparation needed?

No special preparation is needed for this procedure.

What are the risk factors?

Bleeding, infection, pain, the tube falling out prematurely and a second surgery to remove the tube and/or patch up the hole in the ear drum are potential risks of myringotomy with ear tube placement.

Reviewed by: Sandeep P Dave, MD

This page was last updated on: March 26, 2019 12:27 PM