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Frequently Asked Questions: Ear Tubes & Surgery

By DuPage Medical Group Otolaryngology

Your child is scheduled to have ear tubes placed in his or hers ears to help with some ear troubles. What can you expect? We answer your frequently asked questions right here:

What is expected after surgery?

There may be temporary drainage from the ears, as the infection drains.  Eardrops, if necessary, will be prescribed to eliminate infection.

Is there any permanent damage from the tubes?

Generally, eardrums heal without any problems.  If PE tubes are left in for more than 2-3 years, permanent perforations can occur.  Routine follow-ups are necessary to ensure that tubes do not stay in longer than necessary.

What can happen if tubes are not placed?

Ear infections left untreated can often be more damaging than any surgery. Complications can occur, resulting in speech and language delay, rupturing of the eardrum, scarring from too many ear infections and occasionally, hearing loss, which may be permanent.

Is there any role for removing the adenoids?

Adenoidectomy has been shown to eliminate the need for repeated PE tubes. This is usually recommended only if a second set of PE tubes are needed or if the adenoids are enlarged.

Are there any other alternatives other than surgery?

Usually when surgery is recommended, there is no further indication for more antibiotics.  To our knowledge, no alternative medicine has been proven to cure chronic otitis media (ear infections).  A second medical opinion, however, is always an option.


Topics and Subtopics: Ear, Nose, & Throat

Physicians & Experts

Learn more about:
Otolaryngology (ENT)
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