If you suffer from recurrent ear infections, or are having ear pain or hearing problems, a myringotomy may help. This procedure involves creating a hole in the ear drum, which allows trapped fluid in the middle ear to drain out. Ear tubes, or tympanostomy tubes, may or may not be placed during this procedure.
Who can a myringotomy help?
This surgery is often done during childhood when a child is experiencing recurrent ear infections. It can help cut down on the number of infections a child or adult experiences, although it’s less commonly performed on adults. It can also help with hearing loss associated with fluid build up in the ear. A doctor may perform one in order to place tympanostomy tubes, or ear tubes, in the ear to prevent fluid build up and help curb ear infections. Finally, a myringotomy may be performed if a doctor needs to get a sample of fluid from the middle ear for testing purposes.
What is a myringotomy procedure like?
During a myringotomy, general anesthesia is often used. Using a scalpel or laser, a small hole is made in the ear drum, behind which fluid, such as pus or blood, often gets trapped. Fluids will be drained. In many cases the doctor will also insert ear tubes inside the holes. The entire procedure lasts about 15-20 minutes.
After a myringotomy procedure, you may have a cotton ball placed in your ears to absorb any fluids. Replace the packing every few hours as needed; your doctor will tell you when you can take them out completely. You may need pain medication. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic ear drops or oral antibiotics and steroids to help reduce inflammation, if needed. Use earplugs while showering and bathing if ear tubes were placed during your procedure.
If you are wondering whether a myringotomy procedure is right for you, contact us at our Bakersfield Sinus office where Dr. Edmund Fisher, an ENT physician with general otolaryngology and sub-specialty expertise who has been practicing since 2000, can help.