Ear Tube Surgery (Myringotomy)


This minimally-invasive surgical procedure is performed to help treat recurrent ear infections or a build-up of fluid in the middle ear. Small metal or plastic tubes are inserted into the eardrum to drain fluid and to allow air into the middle ear, equalizing pressure between the middle and outer ear. This procedure is most commonly performed on young children.


In preparation for the procedure, the patient is positioned and anesthesia may be administered. The surgeon uses a surgical microscope to inspect the ear canal and the eardrum.

Inserting the Tubes

The surgeon carefully creates a small hole in the eardrum and suctions out any excess fluid trapped within the middle ear. The ear tube is then inserted through the hole in the eardrum, providing a channel that will allow air to circulate between the middle ear and the outer ear.

End of Procedure and Aftercare

When the procedure is complete, the patient may be briefly monitored and then discharged. Antibiotic ear drops may need to be administered for a few days. The tubes will typically stay in place for 6-18 months. Eventually, most tubes fall out on their own, but in some cases they do not fall out and they must be surgically removed. Once the tubes are out, the hole in the eardrum usually heals itself within a few weeks, but in some cases the hole may need to be surgically repaired.