Ear tube placement Myringotomy pre and postsurgery instructions (1477)

Key points below

What is a myringotomy?

When a child has a lot ear infections or fluid behind the eardrum, the doctor may suggest surgery. The surgery is called a Myringotomy and Ear Tube Placement. If not done, the fluid may cause temporary hearing loss. Ear tubes

How is it done?

Your child will have general anesthesia to help them sleep during the surgery.  A small cut is made in the eardrum. If there is fluid in the middle ear, it will be drained. A small plastic or metal tube will be put in the eardrum to ventilate the middle ear. This tube normally stays in place for 12 to 18 months. This depends on the ear tube that is used. Your child will not be able to feel the tube. It will not affect hearing. 

The ear drum pushes the tube out on its own, which does not hurt. The tube will fall into the ear canal where your doctor can easily remove it or it may fall out by itself.

What do I need to know before my child's surgery?

Do not stop any prescribed medicines without talking with your doctor.  If your child is put on any medicine other than an antibiotic before surgery, please call our office.  You can give Tylenol® and Ibuprofen as needed.  

We try to schedule surgery as soon as possible. If you have not heard from us in 2 weeks, please call our office.

Surgery is best done when your child is healthy.  If your child has signs of illness, call your child's doctor or nurse right away.  Surgery may be canceled if your child is ill or has a fever.  Surgery can still be done if your child is on antibiotics for an ear infection.

You will be told when your child sould stop eating and drinking before surgery.  It is very important to follow this order.  Your child’s surgery will be canceled if it is not followed.

What do I need to know after my child’s surgery?

What to expect

Your child will be given liquids after surgery.  A regular diet can be started once your child is fully awake from the surgery.

Tylenol® or ibuprofen may be used for any ear pain after surgery.

Your child’s ear may have some drainage. It may be tinged with blood. This may last 2 to 3 days. If your child is given eardrops after surgery, follow the instructions on the bottle.  Change the cotton often if you see drainage.  Call the doctor or nurse if you notice bright red blood, thick mucus or foul smelling drainage, or if the ear is still draining 5 days after the surgery.
Your child can do their normal activities the day after the surgery. This includes school, daycare, gym classes, sports and other active play.

Ear infections:

Your child should have less ear infections with tubes in place. Any liquid or drainage from the ear is not normal. It may be clear, white, yellow or bloody.  This means your child has an ear infection.

If your child has drainage, start your ear drops, 4 to 5 drops to the draining ear twice daily for 7 days.

If you have drainage lasting more than 7 days, call your ENT physician for an appointment.

Water precautions:

What follow-up care will my child need?

A follow-up appointment is needed.  Please call your child’s doctor’s office to schedule your child’s post surgery check for about 2 weeks after surgery.  

The doctor or nurse practitioner will check the tubes. They will make sure they are in the right position and are not plugged.  Your child may also have a hearing test at this time.  

Routine visits are then done once a year to make sure that the tubes are working like they should and that no other problems have occurred.


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has:

  • Ear drainage that continues for 7 days after being treated with ear drops.
  • Bright red blood.
  • Thick mucus.
  • Foul smelling drainage.
  • Special health care needs that were not covered by this information. 

ENT Clinic at (414) 266-2982 for any questions or concerns.

After hours call (414) 266-2000 ask to have the ENT doctor on call paged.