As a parent, the last thing you want is to see your child suffer. And when a kid has an ear infection, we know they can be in pain. The pitiful crying of a baby or agonizing wails of a preschooler are a sure sign that ear infections aren’t for the faint of heart. And of course, parents want to do what they can to alleviate the pain. When we recommend surgery to parents of young children, a procedure to put tubes in the child’s ears, we often find the parents are apprehensive about surgery, anxious about having their child go under anesthesia, and worried about the effects of the procedure. Learning a little more about the process, what will happen and how to prepare, can help ease some of those worries and make the whole process smoother for you and your child.
Ear infections seem like an unavoidable fact of life for many children. But for some, they occur at a higher rate, and can lead to fluid build up in the middle ear and even hearing loss. That’s where tubes come in. They are a plastic, hollow, spool-shaped device placed in a child’s ear drum. The tube opens up the space, allowing fluid to flow out of the middle ear into the ear canal. Clearing the fluid can restore hearing, prevent future build up of fluid, and decrease the feeling of pressure in the ears which helps reduce pain.
Surgery to insert ear tubes is usually recommended for children who have repeat ear infections, at least 3 to 4 within a 6 to 12 month period, or for children experiencing hearing difficulties due to fluid build up for at least three months.
What to Expect
More than 500,000 children a year go through the procedure to insert tubes in the ears. But while it might seem like a routine surgery to the doctors and nurses performing it, anything that happens to your child is a big deal. Knowing what to expect will help you feel better about the procedure.
— First, you’ll probably be asked to come to the hospital or surgical center very early in the morning, to get the paper work and operative process started.
— The child will be given general anesthesia.
— Then the doctor will perform the surgery, making a small hole in the ear drum.
— The doctor will remove any fluid with suction.
— Then the doctor will insert the tube.
–The whole process takes about 10-15 minutes.
Waking up early and going to a new place might be stressful for your child. Let them bring their favorite blanket or stuffed animal to keep them company. After surgery, drinks and snacks will be provided. If your child has favorites, you are welcome to bring them.
You will be able to go home 1-2 hours after surgery, and kids can return to school the next day. Just be sure to keep your follow up appointments. It’s important for the doctor to check the tubes and make sure they’re working.
If you have any questions about ear tubes, how they work, or what the surgery is like, feel free to call us at Piedmont Ear, Nose and Throat 336-768- 3361. Our experienced staff will be glad to answer any questions and make sure you’re completely comfortable when the day comes for surgery.
Questions? Contact us, or call (336) 768-3361 today to schedule your appointment.