Ear ventilation tube (vent tube) surgery has been done since the 1950s. The procedure is called a myringotomy. It’s 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 anesthesiologist will get a medical history of your child and perform a physical examination before developing an anesthesia 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 to make sure there are no complications. 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 pediatrician 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 pediatrician right away. Another procedure will be necessary to re-insert it.
Detailed follow-up care is based on the judgment of your pediatrician. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to ask your pediatrician.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.