A cold or some other upper respiratory infection can cause the
eustachian tubes to swell, blocking the normal drainage from the middle ear.
The fluid buildup can lower your or your child's ability to hear. And the warm,
moist environment makes it easy for bacteria and viruses to grow, causing an
Incision made in the eardrum
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slide 2 of 4, Incision made in the eardrum,
A small cut (incision) is made in the eardrum to allow fluid
Fluid draining through the incision
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slide 3 of 4, Fluid draining through the incision,
Fluid from the middle ear drains through the incision into the
ear canal and is suctioned out by the doctor.
Ear tube placed
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slide 4 of 4, Ear tube placed,
The temporary tube is inserted into the eardrum incision to
prevent future fluid buildup.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics Specialist Medical ReviewerCharles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.