A myringotomy is a small cut that is made in the eardrum. The operation is
also called a tympanostomy. Your child will have a tiny, hollow tube called a
ventilating tube, put through this cut so that air can get into the middle ear.
The tube won't be seen or felt by your child, and his or her hearing usually
Once your child is in the operating room and is asleep, the operation takes
about five minutes. Ear drops are put in the ears to prevent a blood clot from
plugging the tube. Your child is then taken to the recovery room for a short
time and then returned to his/her room in the Ambulatory Surgery Unit. Once your
child is completely awake and can drink, (s)he will be allowed to leave the
Cracking and popping sounds are often heard during the first few days after
ventilating tubes are placed. Mild pain due to the cut in the eardrum can be
relieved with Tylenol. You will be given a bottle of ear drops. Put four(4)
drops in each ear four (4) times a day for the first four days after surgery.
The reason for using drops is to prevent an infection and to keep a blood clot
from plugging the tiny opening of the tubes. To use the drops, first warm the
bottle by holding it in your hands for about five minutes. Then gently pull your
child's ear up and back and put the drops into the ear canal. After the drops
are in, press on the bump in front of the ear, called the tragus ("tray-gus"),
to pump the drops down the ear canal. A small plug of cotton should be put in
the opening of the ear canal for about fifteen minutes to collect any excess
Drainage from one or even both ears can occur right after the operation or at
anytime while the tubes are in the eardrum. Drainage right after surgery usually
has a yellow or even a blood-tinged color. Don't be alarmed, as the blood comes
from the edges of the small cut made in the eardrum and stops without a problem.
Whenever a discharge is seen, clean the part of the ear that you can see with a
Q-tip that has been soaked with hydrogen peroxide. Don't let the hydrogen
peroxide run down into the ear canal. This might cause a lot of pain. After the
ear has been cleaned, put the drops that were given to you at the time of your
child's operation in the ear that is draining. You should follow the steps that
we have suggested to make sure that the drops get to and into the middle ear.
Please call our office if the drainage doesn't completely stop after four days
of using the drops. While the drops are usually good for a few months, you
should check the expiration date on the bottle before you use them. If you need
a new prescription, please call our office.
Tubes usually stay in for about nine to twelve months and then "fall out" of
the eardrum. They may stay in the ear canal and go unnoticed by you or your
child. You should make an appointment to see Dr. Hernandez about 3-4 weeks after
your child's tubes were put in. If everything is OK, we will want to see your
child every three or four months thereafter. Depending upon age and condition,
his or her hearing will be checked from time to time.
You must not let bath water get into your child's ear. Soap can irritate the
delicate lining of the middle ear. This can cause pain and possibly infection.
Your child, however, can swim in a clean, chlorinated pool using appropriate ear
plugs. He or she should not dive into deep water. After each time he or she
swims, you must put four drops of the antibiotic solution in both ears to reduce
the chance of an infection. At no time should your child be allowed to swim in a
lake, pond, or river. This type of water is not "clean" and may cause a
If you ever have any concerns or questions, please don't hesitate to call our
Hector N. Hernandez,
Assignment Accepted - New Patients Welcome
Boulevard Port Charlotte, Florida 33952
© 2004 AAO-HNS/AAO-HNSF
Please read our disclaimer. Any information provided on this Web site should not be considered medical advice or a substitute for a consultation with Dr. Hector N. Hernandez or other healthcare professional. If you have a medical problem, contact us for diagnosis and treatment.