Myringotomy
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
Answers

What is Myringotomy?

A myringotomy is a procedure to put a hole in the ear drum. This is done so that fluid trapped in the middle ear can drain out. The fluid may be blood, pus, and/or water. In many cases, a small tube is inserted into the hole in the ear drum. The tube helps to maintain drainage. This surgery is most often done on children, but is sometimes done on adults.

A myringotomy may be done:

  • To help treat an ear infection that is not responding to medical treatment
  • To restore hearing loss caused by fluid build-up and to prevent delayed speech development caused by hearing loss in children
  • To take sample fluid from the middle ear to examine in the lab for the presence of bacteria or other infections
  • To place tympanostomy tubes—These tubes help to equalize pressure. It may also help prevent recurrent ear infections and the accumulation of fluid behind the ear drum.

After the procedure, pain and/or pressure in the ear due to fluid build-up should be alleviated. Hearing loss due to fluid build-up should improve as well.

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a myringotomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Failure of the myringotomy incision in the ear drum to heal as expected
  • Hearing loss
  • Injury to ear structures other than the ear drum
  • Need for repeat surgery

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the ear
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
  • Drainage from ear continues for more than four days after surgery *...
 
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