Placing Ear Tubes – Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute

Hi, I’m Doctor Rodney Lusk, Director
of the Boys Town Ear, Nose and Throat Institute. Placing
ear tubes in children is extremely safe. In fact, it is the second most common
procedure in pediatrics. There are numerous indications for tubes.
Some indications include; recurrent ear infections with fluid,
recurrent acute otitis media, persistent acute otitis media, hearing
loss caused by fluid, unacceptable antibiotic burdens from
acute otitis media. There are other situations which could
warrant tube insertion by your ENT specialist. The procedure for tubes is generally lasting only about 10
minutes. It requires a short, mask general anaesthetic and it may take place
in a hospital or in a surgery center. In a normal ear
the eustachian tube provides drainage hand ventilation to the middle ear. When inflammation or infection block the
tube, fluid can build up in the middle ear.
During surgery a tiny hole is placed in the ear drum
which allows removal of fluid from the middle ear. To keep the hole open a tube is placed
through the hole. Tubes resolve the conductive hearing
loss if it is secondary to fluid and hearing
should return to normal. Tubes also decrease the incidence of
recurrent ear infections. Tubes allow treatment of middle ear
infections with drops instead of oral antibiotics. This provides a much higher
concentration of antibiotics where you need them. Tubes are not a cure
all. Some parents expect tubes to result in no
more colds, no more nasal drainage, no more ear
infections and no more illness. It is important to understand
that the tubes only address the middle ear disease and
bypass the eustachian tube. The frequency of ear infections will decrease
but infections may still occur with colds. However, tube insertion is associated
with short term quality-of-life improvements and improvement in behavior. For more
information and videos on pediatric ear, nose and
throat conditions, please visit

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