Ear Tube Surgery (myringotomy)

ACTIVITY:  Your child should recover from the anesthesia quite quickly.  Many children are normal by the time you get them home.  Some children may be fussy for 2 days.  Keep them home the first day with light play activities.  They may return to school/daycare the next day.

DIET:  Try to start with something thin and light, like clear liquids and soup.  They may have some nausea from the anesthesia.  You may then slowly increase this to a normal diet.

PAIN:  Ear tube surgery is not typically painful.  Most children will not complain of pain, but they may pull on the ear because of the ear drops.  If your child has pain from the ear drops, stop the medication and call your doctor for instructions.  Tylenol is adequate for any discomfort that they may have.  Avoid giving aspirin or ibuprofen medications, as this may thin the blood and cause bleeding.

DRY EARS:  As long as the tube is in place, you should keep water out of the ears.  When you bathe, put petroleum jelly or Neosporin ointment on a cotton ball and place it gently in the ears.  You may also use an earplug.  Swimming is typically prohibited; however wading in a kiddy pool is acceptable with ear plugs.  If active swimming is desired, we can manufacture a custom-fitted ear mold in our audiology department.  Do not use medications in the ear unless prescribed by your doctor.  Never use Swim-Ear, as the alcohol will burn the middle ear and cause significant pain.

EAR DROPS:  Antibiotic ear drops are routinely given as 3 drops per ear twice-a-day for 3 days.  This is to help clear any residual fluid and congestion from the middle ear.  There may be some drainage or slight bleeding from their ears for the first few days; this is normal.  If the drainage continues, continue the drops for a full 10 days.  If the ear drops are not getting in the ear, come into the office to have the ears cleaned.   

Common concerns:
Blood in ears:  If your child has some bloody drainage, do not be alarmed.  Simply continue the ear drops for a full 10 days.  If you see a blood clot and the ear drops are not getting in, come into the office to have the ears cleaned.


Kevin Ki-Hong Ho, MD

Ear, Nose & Throat specialist

Kevin Ki-Hong Ho, MD
San Francisco
Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist

Golden Gate ENT
Kevin Ki-Hong Ho, MD
San Francisco
Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist

Kevin Ki-Hong Ho, MD
San Francisco
Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist
415-682-8181