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Laurence O’Halloran MD
Timothy Egan MD
Sarah Blank MD

After Tympanostomy Tubes

After surgery, your child will be taken to the recovery room to be monitored by a nurse. You may be invited into the recovery room as your child becomes aware of their surroundings and starts looking for you. Your child should be able to go home the same day as the surgery once they have fully recovered from the anesthetic. This usually takes less than one hour.

Your child may resume a normal diet after he or she has fully recovered from the anesthetic. Even though they may be hungry immediately after surgery, it is best to feed them slowly to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting. If vomiting persists, your doctor may prescribe medication to settle the stomach.

Ear Drops:

After surgery your child will usually be given a prescription for ear drops which are used to help keep the tube open and prevent drainage. The drops are typically used for 3 days but your doctor may ask you to use them for longer.


If your child had ear tubes placed for persistent middle ear fluid and hearing loss they will frequently notice an improvement in their hearing immediately. It is very common for children to complain that the radio/TV is too loud or that people are yelling. This is because they are not yet accustomed to normal hearing.

After Surgery:

  • Your child should see the doctor for their first post op visit 3-4 weeks after surgery.
  • Tympanostomy tubes usually stay in place from 6 to 18 months. They typically fall out on their own and the hole in the eardrum usually closes on its own. Some children may have mild discomfort or bloody drainage at this time. If they stay in longer than two to three years, they may need to be removed.
  • It is important to have an ear check-up about every six months while the tubes are in place . An audiogram is usually obtained at some point after the ear has healed.
  • After tympanostomy tube placement your child may develop watery drainage from the ear when they gets a cold or upper respiratory tract infection. This is normal and should resolve in a few days without treatment. If the the drainage persists or becomes infected looking you should call the office.

If you have any questions, please call our office at 703-534-3314