Treatments for Myringotomy (Ear tubes) in Children

How are ear tubes inserted?

Myringotomy is the surgical procedure that is performed to insert ear tubes. Insertion of the tubes is usually an outpatient procedure. This means that your child will have surgery, and then go home that same day.

Myringotomy involves making a small opening in the eardrum to drain the fluid and relieve the pressure from the middle ear. A small tube is placed in the opening of the eardrum to ventilate the middle ear and to prevent fluid from accumulating. Your child's hearing is restored after the fluid is drained. The tubes usually fall out on their own after six to twelve months.

Fortunately, ear tubes require relatively little follow-up. Children who get them return to their otolaryngologist's office a month after the procedure, then every six months after that, and the tubes usually fall out on their own within nine to 12 months after placement. By that point, most children have outgrown their ear problems and don't require additional sets of tubes.

How do I care for my child once her ear tubes have been placed?

  • Your child's surgeon may order antibiotic ear drops to be placed after the initial insertion of the tubes, to prevent infection.
  • You should call your child's physician if your child experiences any of the following symptoms:
    • drainage from the ear
    • ear pain
    • fever
    • myringotomy tube displaced (out of ear)
  • You will be taught how to use earplugs while your child is in the water, based on the opinion of your child's physician. Different physicians have different recommendations regarding the use of earplugs.