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Myringotomy with PE Tubes

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What do I 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 do I 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 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 should I 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.

What are the 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.

Care Agreement

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