Ear Tubes

Ear Tube Overview

Diagram ear infection Ear infections (otitis media) are the most common infections requiring treatment in young children. They have a tendency to become more frequent and less responsive to antibiotic therapy. Some infections may resolve spontaneously after a short period, while others may require medication to aid in resolution. Almost all children experience one or two infections in the first two years of life, but environment and head and neck anatomy make some children more prone to multiple infections. A complication of otitis media may cause long-term damage that may result in hearing loss or neurologic problems and may contribute to speech or developmental delay.

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When a child experiences multiple ear infections, ear tubes (also called tympanostomy tubes, ventilation tubes, or PE [pressure equalization] tubes) may be recommended by an otolaryngologist. These tiny tubes are inserted through the ear drum and perform a number of functions:

  • The tube prevents many ear infections by allowing air in the middle ear to exchange freely with the outside air, preventing the formation of a vacuum in the middle ear. This tends to keep
  • The tube prevents many ear infections by allowing air in the middle ear to exchange freely with the outside air, preventing the formation of a vacuum in the middle ear. This tends to keep infection from coming to the ear from the back of the nose and causing the ear infection. The equalization of the middle ear pressure prevents most of the complications to the eardrum that result from
  • The equalization of the middle ear pressure prevents most of the complications to the eardrum that result from formation of negative pressure in the middle ear.
  • Should an ear with a tube in place become infected, the tube then functions as a drain, without pain, by allowing pus to drain out.
  • The tube then allows the parent to insert medication directly to the site of the infection using antibiotic/steroid ear drops.
  • The tubes can alleviate hearing loss caused by the accumulation of fluid in the middle ear. Ear tubes are made from various materials and consist of small, cylindrical tubes that are positioned through the ear drum. Some tubes are designed to fall out on their own, and others may require removal by a doctor.

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UPON YOUR VISIT TO THE DOCTOR

After an ear doctor determines that the child will benefit from the insertion of ear tubes, the parents (or primary caretakers) should be given the following information to assist in their decision to proceed with the operation. The full extent of the child’s problem and why the doctor feels tubes are the best solution for that particular child

The details of the proposed procedure and any common complications that might arise The type and extent of anesthesia to be used for the case including possible preoperative medication and discharge instructions Any possible long-term benefits or complications Any nonsurgical alternatives and the risks of not performing the procedure Instructions for care of the child after the tubes are inserted

After an ear doctor determines that the child will benefit from the insertion of ear tubes, the parents (or primary caretakers) should be given the following information to assist in their decision to proceed with the operation. The full extent of the child’s problem and why the doctor feels tubes are the best solution for that particular child The details of the proposed procedure and any common complications that might arise

  • The type and extent of anesthesia to be used for the case including possible preoperative medication and discharge instructions
  • Any possible long-term benefits or complications
  • Any nonsurgical alternatives and the risks of not performing the procedure
  • Instructions for care of the child after the tubes are inserted

DO YOU NEED TO SETUP AN APPOINTMENT
Call Our Office at (601) 835-0077

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