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Myringotomy with PE Tubes in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What do I need to know about myringotomy with PE tubes?

Myringotomy is surgery to put a hole through your child's eardrum. The hole relieves pressure and lets fluid drain from your child's 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 do I prepare my child for surgery?

What will happen during surgery?

Your child's surgeon may give him or her local anesthesia to numb the ear. Your child may feel pressure or pushing, but he or she should not feel pain. If your child needs to be asleep, he or she will get general anesthesia. Your child's surgeon will make an incision in the eardrum. He or she will drain fluid that is trapped inside the middle ear through this hole. The surgeon will put a small tube into the hole. He or she may also put antibiotic drops into your child's ear.

What should my child expect after surgery?

Your child will be taken to a room to rest. If your child was asleep during surgery, he or she will stay there until 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 or she may be able to go home. Medicines may be given to prevent a bacterial infection or to relieve pain and swelling.

What are the risks of myringotomy with PE tubes?

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

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. 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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Further information

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