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If there is still fluid behind your child’s eardrums after a course of antibiotics, or if your child has repeated ear infections, your paediatrician may recommend ear ventilation tubes (vent tubes).
If the ear infections are related to swollen or infected adenoids, a power-assisted adenoidectomy may be recommended to remove the adenoids.
Whether a power-assisted adenoidectomy is right for your child depends on several factors that you should discuss with your child’s paediatrician and an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) or ear specialist.
More: Ventilation tubes
Your paediatrician or ENT specialist may recommend an ear ventilation tube (vent tube) for your child to help treat ear infections that keep coming back or that last a long time.
A vent tube is a tiny tube that is put into your child's eardrum. It may help drain fluid from the middle ear to lessen the risk of ear infections.
Vent tubes may be recommended if:
Ear ventilation tube (vent tube) surgery has been performed since the 1950s. The procedure is called a myringotomy. It is generally an outpatient operation, which means your child will have the surgery and usually go home the same day.
You’ll meet with your child’s healthcare team before the operation, and they’ll answer any questions you may have. The anaesthetist will get a medical history of your child and perform a physical examination before developing an anaesthesia plan. He or she will discuss the plan with you and answer any of your questions.
Vent tube surgery usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes. The operation involves making a very small opening in the eardrum to drain the fluid behind it and relieve pressure on the middle ear.
A tiny tube is then placed in the opening to keep the middle ear ventilated and prevent fluid from accumulating again. The tube usually falls out on its own after 6 to 12 months.
The recovery room nurses will monitor your child for approximately 2 to 4 hours after surgery. If all goes well, you can usually leave the hospital the same day.
The ENT or ear specialist may prescribe antibiotic ear drops to prevent infection where the vent tube was inserted. You’ll probably be asked to call your paediatrician if your child has drainage from the ear, pain in the ear, or a fever. If a vent tube should happen to fall out before it’s supposed to, notify your paediatrician right away. Another procedure will be necessary to re-insert it.
Detailed follow-up care is based on the judgment of your paediatrician. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to ask your paediatrician.
A power-assisted adenoidectomy is an outpatient operation, which means your child will have the surgery and usually go home the same day.
You’ll meet with the healthcare team before the operation, and they’ll answer any questions you may have. The anaesthetist will get a medical history of your child and perform a physical examination before developing an anaesthesia plan. He or she will discuss the plan with you and answer your questions.
The surgery is done under a general anaesthetic and takes about 15 minutes. Most surgery involves some bleeding and a power-assisted adenoidectomy is no exception. The surgeon will apply a gauze pack with pressure until the bleeding stops.
If the patient is a child, he or she will not be brought out of the anaesthesia until bleeding after the surgery has completely stopped. Once all bleeding has stopped, the operation is complete. The recovery room nurses will monitor your child for approximately 2 to 4 hours after surgery to make sure there are no complications. If all goes well, you can usually leave the hospital the same day.
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