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Myringotomy with PE Tubes


What you need to know about myringotomy with PE tubes:

Myringotomy is surgery to put a hole through your eardrum. The hole relieves pressure and lets fluid drain from your ear. A pressure equalizing (PE) tube will be put through the hole during surgery. The tube is used to keep the hole open and to help drain fluid. Over time, the tube will fall out or be removed by a healthcare provider.

Ear Tube

How to prepare for surgery:

  • Your surgeon will tell you how to prepare. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of surgery. Arrange to have someone drive you home when you are discharged from the hospital.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. Your surgeon will tell you if you need to stop taking any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery.
  • Your surgeon may check for other ear, nose, or throat problems. You may need to have blood and urine tests and x-rays. You may also need hearing tests.
  • You may be given an antibiotic before your surgery to fight infection and decrease ear pain. Anesthesia will be given to prevent pain during surgery. Tell your surgeon if you had an allergic reaction to antibiotics or anesthesia.

What will happen during surgery:

Your surgeon may give you local anesthesia to numb your ear. You may feel pressure or pushing, but you should not feel pain. If you need to be asleep, you will get general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make an incision in your eardrum. He or she will drain fluid that is trapped inside your middle ear through this hole. Your surgeon will put a PE tube into the hole. He or she may also put antibiotic drops into your ear.

What to expect after surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest. If you were asleep for your surgery, you will stay there until you are fully awake. Do not get out of bed until healthcare providers say it is okay. Medicines may be given to prevent a bacterial infection or to relieve pain and swelling.

Risks of myringotomy with PE tubes:

During the procedure, a nerve may be damaged. Damage can decrease your ability to taste. After the PE is placed, you may get an infection. You may have hearing loss from bleeding or scar tissue. Your PE tube may fall out too soon. You may need another procedure to put in a new tube. Your eardrum may tear from the PE tube. It may not close after the tube is removed. You may need surgery to repair the eardrum.

Call your surgeon or otolaryngologist if:

  • You have hearing loss, ear ringing, or dizziness after you use eardrops.
  • Your ear is draining blood or pus.
  • You have severe pain in your ear.
  • You have sudden hearing loss.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have changes in your hearing.
  • You have trouble tasting food, or cannot taste food at all.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Steroids decrease pain and swelling.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


may be given. Follow the instructions for putting in the drops.

How to Instill Ear Drops in Adults

Care for your ears:

Gently use a tissue to remove fluid leaking from your ear. Do not put cotton swabs in your ear. Ask how to clean your ear after your myringotomy.


You may need to avoid certain activities, such as swimming. Ask how long you need to do this.

Follow up with your surgeon or otolaryngologist as directed:

You may need to return to have your ear checked or to have the PE tube removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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

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