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Myringotomy With P.e. Tubes In Children


A myringotomy is a procedure to put a tube through a hole in your child's eardrum. The eardrum protects your child's middle ear and helps him hear. Pressure equalizing (PE) tubes drain fluid out from inside your child's ear. Over time, the tube will fall out or be removed by a healthcare provider.

Ear Anatomy


Before the procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give him medicine or liquids.
  • Anesthesia:
    • General anesthesia: Your child will remain asleep during the procedure. It may be given in an IV or as a gas through a mask over his face.
    • Local anesthesia: This is a shot of medicine that is put into your child's eardrum. Before the shot, healthcare providers will put medicine on his ear to numb it. Your child will be awake during the procedure. He may feel pressure and pushing, but he should not feel pain.

During the procedure:

Your child's healthcare provider will make an incision in his eardrum. He will drain fluid that is trapped inside the middle ear out through this hole. Your child's healthcare provider will put a small PE tube into the hole, and may put antibiotic drops in his ear.

After the procedure:

Your child will be taken to a room to rest. If your child was asleep during the procedure, he will stay there until he is fully awake. Do not let your child get out of bed until healthcare providers say it is okay. When healthcare providers see that your child is okay, he may be able to go home. If your child is staying in the hospital, he will be taken to his room.

  • Medicines:
    • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
    • Pain medicine: Your child may be given medicine decrease pain. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Do not let your child's pain get severe before asking for more medicine.
    • Steroids: This medicine helps decrease pain and swelling in your child's ear.


  • During the procedure, a nerve may be damaged, which can decrease your child's ability to taste. After the PE is placed, your child may get an infection or pus may drain from his ear. He may have hearing loss from bleeding or scar tissue. If your child's PE tube falls out too soon, he may need another procedure to put in a new tube. Your child's eardrum may tear from the PE tube, or may not close after the tube is removed. If this happens, he may need surgery to repair his eardrum.
  • If your child does not have a myringotomy with a PE tube, he may keep having ear infections and pain. Fluid may build up inside his ear and his eardrum could burst. Your child's hearing may get worse.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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