Ear Ventilation Tubes - Why to Use, Which Types are Available and How to Remove?

Ear Ventilation Tubes

Why are ear ventilation tubes used?

Tympanostomy tubes" or "ear ventilation tubes" is a method of creating a perforation in the tympanic membrane. The main purpose of ear ventilation tubes is to ventilate the middle ear during an attempt to treat an infection or chronic middle ear fluid. Tubes can also be attached to pressure (Meniere's disease), to the middle ear, to relieve pain or to treat an inadequately operated eustachian tube.

What are ear ventilation tubes?

Ear Ventilation Tube
Ear tubes are small cylinders passed through the eardrum (tympanic membrane) to allow air to enter the middle ear. Also called tympanostomy tubes, myringotomy tubes, ventilation tubes or PE (pressure equalization) tubes.
These tubes can be made of various materials and can be of two basic types: short-term and long-term. Short-term tubes are smaller and usually remain in place for six to eighteen months without self-depletion. Long-term tubes are larger and have flanges that fix them for a longer period of time (such as a T tube). Long-term tubes may also fall on their own, but may be required by an otolaryngologist.

How are ear tubes placed in the eardrum?

Ear tubes can be fitted with an ambulatory surgical procedure called myringotomy. Miringotomy means a cut (small aperture) under a surgical microscope with a very small scalpel in the tympanic membrane or tympanic membrane. If an ear tube is not inserted, the opening opening in the miringotomy will usually heal and close within a few days. To avoid this, keep an open and place an ear tube in the hole to reach the middle ear cavity (ventilation).

Those who are waiting for you after the operation of the ear tube insertion

After the operation, the patient is monitored in the recovery room (if general anesthesia is used) and usually within a few hours if there are no complications. Patients usually have little or no pain after surgery.

Hearing loss due to the presence of middle ear fluid is usually eliminated immediately after tube insertion and aspiration of the middle ear fluid.

Your doctor will provide specific postoperative instructions, including to set follow-up appointments. You can also prescribe an antibiotic ear drops for several days.

Take note of your doctor's post-surgical recommendations and, if possible, protect the tubing from contact with water.

Removal of ear tube (T tube) video

Because of the chronic serous otitis media (long-lasting fluid in the middle ear) and the tympanic membrane retraction (ejection of the eardrum), you can see the removal of the 1.14 mm diameter "T-tube" ventilation tube from the eardrum. It only takes a few seconds and can be done in office conditions. However, it can be performed under local anesthesia in the office or hospital conditions because the insertion process is more difficult than taking.

After removal of the ear tubes, the patient should still be protected from contact with his ear for a few weeks and the hole in the eardrum connected to the tube should be expected to close.

Ear ventilation tube
1 week after ear tube insertion

Spontaneously falling out of ear tubes 

Spontaneously falling out of tympanostomy tube (grommet)

Ear tubes can fall spontaneously within 6 to 18 months. Patients may not understand this situation easily. Sometimes it can be noticed by the relatives as an object in the external ear canal. In the above photo, the "grommet ear tube", which was placed about 6 months ago, spontaneously turns out of the eardrum and is falling out.

Links to more detailed information about serous otitis media:
Murat Enoz, MD, Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon - ENT Doctor in Istanbul

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