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Ear tube surgery

Drainage or shunting of the eardrum is a procedure in which a small opening is made in the eardrum and a small soft plastic tube or shunt is inserted to ventilate the middle ear. The shunt stays in the ear for 2-12 months and usually comes out on its own.

When is surgery necessary?

The indication for shunting the eardrum is the accumulation of fluid in the middle ear, which can lead to hearing loss, as the eardrum and the chain of the ear bones cannot oscillate properly to receive sound and transmit sound waves.

The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia, is generally well tolerated and lasts up to 30 minutes with anaesthesia. The surgery involves making a small incision in the eardrum under a microscope, removing the secretion from the middle ear and inserting a shunt into the eardrum.

Postoperative period

  • The patient remains under postoperative observation for 2 to 4 hours, after which they can go home.
  • It is allowed to eat and drink 1-2 hours after the operation.
  • Please note! If the shunt is in the ear, water must not get into the ear, so use special earplugs (sold in pharmacies) when washing the head and taking a bath and shower or swimming. If water enters the middle ear through the shunt, purulent otitis media may follow, which requires immediate antibacterial treatment.
  • Hearing improves quickly after the surgery. This can be frightening at first, as sounds seem unusually loud. You may also hear cracking or scratching sounds in your ear for some time after the operation.
  • The shunt usually comes out unnoticed after 2-12 months.
  • A follow-up is planned in agreement with the treating physician.

Possible complications:

  • Transmission of infection into the middle ear through the shunt – antibiotic treatment is prescribed.
  • The shunt comes out from the ear too early – if necessary, a repeat operation is performed.
  • The shunt does not come out on its own – the physician removes the shunt with a simple procedure (under anaesthesia in children).
  • Scarring of the eardrum – after the shunt has been removed, a small scar may remain on the eardrum, which usually does not cause hearing problems.
  • In very rare cases, the hole in the eardrum does not close after the shunt is removed – it requires eardrum restoration surgery to close it.

In the first days after the surgery, the body temperature may rise or there may be discharge from the ear. If necessary, use an antipyretic and contact our paid information line at 1500 for advice. If necessary, you will be referred to a physician for further treatment