Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Myringotomy (commonly known as “Grommets“) and ear tube surgery is performed to drain ear fluid and prevent ear infections in the instances that antibiotics don’t work or ear infections are chronic.

We use grommets to normalise the pressure in the middle ear and decrease fluid accumulation.  It is most commonly performed on infants and children as this is the most common age for frequent ear infections and it can be one on one or both ears.

Grommets are small tubes about the size of a match head that are placed in the eardrum to help treat recurrent otitis media and glue ear. Also called ventilating tubes, grommets allow air to flow into the middle ear, restoring an equal air pressure between the middle ear and the atmosphere, and allowing the glue to drain down the Eustachian tube or to be reabsorbed into the tissues.

This equalisation of pressure is important for good health and function of the middle ear and Eustachian tube.

The surgeon makes a small hole in the eardrum, and then uses suction to remove fluid.  A small ear tube of metal or plastic is inserted into the eardrum to allow continual drainage.

The tube prevents infections as long as it stays in place, which varies from six months to three years.  When the tube falls out, the hole almost always grows over.  As many as 20% of children under the age of two who need ear tubes may need them again.  Myringotomy and ear tube surgery is performed in a using a general aesthetic for most children and a local aesthetic for older children or adults.  In these latter cases the procedure may be performed in our clinic.  The procedure usually takes about twenty minutes.  Most patients can go home the same day.

The insertion and removal of grommets is one of the most commonly performed ENT procedures. Many thousands of children have been helped with glue ear (otitis media with effusion) and recurrent acute otitis media, with the insertion and removal of grommets.

Grommets provide improved hearing, improved behavior in children, stop or slow of damage to the ear and decreased infections of the ear.