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Ventilation Tube Placement

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Post-operative Instructions
Ear Tube Placement +/- Adenoidectomy

It is normal for the ears to have a small amount of bloody drainage for a few days post operatively. A small piece of cotton may be needed for absorption. You will typically be asked to use prescription antibiotic ear drops in each ear for four or five days. Roll the dropper bottle around in the palm of your hand to warm the drops prior to inserting them in the patient's ear. To place the drops, tilt the patient's head to the side and place the prescribed number of drops in the ear canal. Try to keep the head tilted for a few minutes, then place a cotton ball at the opening of the ear canal to catch any extra fluid and repeat on the other side. Some patients may complain that these drops sting, if this occurs, simply discontinue the drops and call for instructions during normal business hours.

Swimming is permitted only after your first post-op visit. The most recent guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology require no special precautions during bathing or swimming. In rare situations, however, water getting deep into the ear may cause an infection (pain, drainage). This is usually not a problem with small children who splash around during bath time, but can become an issue if the ears are submerged. If your child's ears seem to be sensitive to water, water can be kept out of the ear during bath time simply with cotton balls covered in vaseline placed in the outer portion of the ear. For swimming, various types of ear plugs are available in most drug stores. For more avid swimmers, we recommend reusable custom ear molds made by our audiologists in the office.

Call the office during normal business hours only if the pain or drainage develops. You will likely be started on antibiotic ear drops.

All ordinary activities including work, school, non water-based athletics and travel are permitted within 24 hours after your procedure.

The initial post-op appointment will be made approximately 2 weeks after the surgery with the Physician Assistant. The doctor will want your child to be seen at least every three to six months as long as the tubes remain in place in order to monitor for when the tubes will come out and catch any potential complications early.

On very rare occasion, a child may complain of discomfort for a day or two following the insertion of the tubes. The pain can usually be relieved with Tylenol. For the first day or two the patient may also react with alarm to loud noises because hearing is often abruptly improved.


Discomfort from an adenoidectomy lasts longer and is more severe but is usually still relieved with just Tylenol and/or Motrin.

Nasal congestion and foul smelling nasal discharge are also commonly encountered. No treatment is typically necessary for these symptoms.

Slight bleeding from the nose can occasionally occur. This will usually stop with elevating the head, ice over the bridge of the nose, and/or the use of Afrin (oxymetazoline) over the counter nasal spray. Use Afrin only if the bleeding is severe, and call the doctor immediately.


Gene C. Liu, M.D., Inc.


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