Myringotomy - Insertion of Tube
Movie Center: General
Run Time: 3:12


What is a Myringotomy?

The human ear is made up of two chambers. The inner ear and the middle ear. The middle ear is sealed off from the outside environment by the tympanic membrane - or eardrum. In a healthy ear, this membrane acts to protect the delicate interior of the ear from contamination.

Occasionally, however, allergy, infection, or other irritation can cause a buildup of pus, blood and other fluids within the middle ear. In these cases, the seal created by the eardrum acts to prevent proper drainage and can actually pose a health risk.

Symptoms can include pain - caused by the buildup of pressure - and even hearing loss. If left untreated the buildup of fluid can damage the delicate structures located behind the eardrum - leading to temporary or even permanent hearing loss.

A myringotomy is a simple procedure in which a small tube is inserted into the eardrum in order to allow fluids to drain out of the middle, reducing pressure and allowing any infection to be treated with antibiotics.

While the anesthetic is taking effect, the surgeon will position a microscope in front of the ear. When the operative field is numb,

the surgeon will use the microscope to help make a very small incision in the lower part of the ear drum so that the fluid can drain harmlessly away.

In most cases, one or more drainage tubes are left in place to continue to allow fluid to escape during healing.

Sutures are not required, as the ear drum will heal naturally. And the drainage tube will either fall out by itself - or it will removed by the surgeon, one to three weeks later.

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