Ear Tubes (cont.)

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What to do the day of surgery?

It is important that you know precisely what time you are to check-in with the surgical facility, and that you allow sufficient preparation time. Bring the required papers and forms with you, including the preoperative orders and history sheets. Your child should wear comfortable loose fitting clothes (pajamas are permissible). Leave all jewelry and valuables at home. They may bring a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or blanket.

What happens during surgery?

Your child may be given a medication to help him or her relax prior to entering the operating room (premedication). In the operating room, the anesthesiologist will usually use a mixture of gas and an intravenous medication for sedation. During the procedure, which typically takes 10 to 15 minutes, your child will be continuously monitored including pulse oximeter (oxygen saturation) and cardiac rhythm (EKG). The surgical team is prepared for any emergency. In addition to the surgeon and the anesthesiologist, there will be a nurse and a surgical technician in the room.

After the anesthetic takes effect, the doctor, using an operating microscope, makes a tiny incision in the eardrum through the outer ear canal. There will be no external incisions or stitches. Fluid will be suctioned from the ear, and a tube inserted in the eardrum. Usually, drops will be placed in the ear, and a cotton plug inserted in the ear canal.

What happens after surgery?

After surgery, your child will be taken to the recovery room to be monitored by a nurse. You may be invited into the recovery room as your child becomes aware of their surroundings and starts looking for you. Your child should be able to go home the same day as the surgery once they have fully recovered from the anesthetic. This usually takes less than one hour.

Your child may resume a normal diet after he or she has fully recovered from the anesthetic. Even though they may be hungry immediately after surgery, it is best to feed them slowly to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting. Occasionally, children may vomit one or two times immediately after surgery. If vomiting persists, your doctor may prescribe medication to settle the stomach.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/31/2014

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