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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:

  • When you take your child to see his healthcare provider, bring a list of his medicines or the medicine bottles. Tell healthcare providers if your child uses herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine. If your child is allergic to any medicine, tell his healthcare provider.
  • Your child may need hearing tests. Ask healthcare providers about this test, and other tests that your child may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
  • Your healthcare provider may give your child antibiotic medicine before the procedure. This medicine helps fight ear infections and may decrease your child's ear pain.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your child's procedure.

The night before the procedure:

Ask healthcare providers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of the procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery on your child. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Healthcare providers may put an IV tube into your child's vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Your child may be given liquids and medicine through the IV.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you and your child before the surgery. Your child may need medicine to keep him asleep or numb an area of his body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

Your child may have local anesthesia, which is a shot of medicine that numbs the eardrum. Your child will likely stay awake during the procedure. Your child may feel pressure or pushing, but he should not feel pain. He may need general anesthesia, which will keep him asleep during the procedure. Healthcare providers will make a small incision in your child's eardrum. Fluid trapped inside your child's middle ear will drain out through this hole. A small PE tube will be placed into the hole, and antibiotic drops may be put into your child's 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 he is okay, your child may go home. If your child is staying in the hospital, he will be taken to his room.


  • Your child cannot make it to his procedure.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has new trouble hearing.
  • Your child has pus leaking from his ear.
  • Your child is pulling on his ear, and he is more irritable than usual.
  • Your child has hearing loss or ringing in his ear. He feels dizzy after he gets eardrops.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your child has severe ear pain.
  • Your child has sudden hearing loss.
  • You child has blood coming from his 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.

Care Agreement

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.