What are the indications for EAR TUBES?
Ear tubes are one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the US. They are placed typically for 1) recurrent ear infections (3 or more in 6 mos or 4-5 or more in 12 mos), 2) persistent fluid behind the ear drum (3 or more mos of fluid behind both ear drums), 3) retracted ear drums - this causes some hearing loss but more importantly might lead to something known as a cholesteatoma.
What is the experience like for EAR TUBES?
A general anesthesia is needed for ear tube placement. It is usually just an anesthetic gas (no IV or intubation) delivered by an anesthesiologist (doctor that puts people to sleep). The procedure takes any where from 5-15 minutes. Children are cranky as they are awakening but it is largely a painless experience. Recovery is 15-30 min. Once the gas wears off (30 min to several hours) kids are usually back to normal. Older children can return to school or daycare the next day. Standard ear tubes last on average about 13 mos and fall out on their own. Water is OK to get in the ears with tubes.