The fluid trapped behind our eardrum is a breeding ground for infections and is often the cause of eventual deafness problems and recurrent ear infections for many children.
If such is the case, the ENT can prescribe the installation of a little tube in the eardrum. “This tube allows the ear to ventilate to facilitate fluid release”, says Dr. Daniels.
It is the surgery that is the most frequently performed on children. Around one million tubes are installed every year in North America.
Some information about the operation
- The surgeon makes a small incision in the eardrum to insert the tube that will remain in place for six to eighteen months and will eventually come out of the ear.
- The operation takes place under local or general anaesthesia, depending on the age of the child and you can leave hospital four to six hours later.
Nasal cortisone and the use of a breathing mask or of a device for sleep apnea may be alternatives to the removal of adenoids and tonsils but they are not suitable for all children and are not a very effective barrier against infections.
After the operation
- Tubes cause no pain and no hearing loss.
- Some liquid could seep out of your child’s ear: this is normal.
- Do not insert anything in his ear. To clean it, use a clean damp towel.
- It is possible that the ENT prescribes antibiotic drops and you can give pain medication when needed.
- Your child can resume his normal activities the day following the operation but it is best to obtain permission from the doctor before swimming.
- He could have to wear earplugs when putting his head under water.