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Myringotomy - Ear Fluid Drainage - Diagnosis, Treatment & Recovery

Myringotomy is the surgical treatment for severe ear infections. Pristyn Care provides advanced myringotomy (and tympanostomy) surgery for relief from severe ear infections. Consult us and book a appointment right away.

Myringotomy is the surgical treatment for severe ear infections. Pristyn Care provides advanced ... Read More

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    Dr. Neha B Lund (KLood9WpKW)

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  • What is Myringotomy?

    Myringotomy, also known as ear tube surgery, is a medical procedure performed to alleviate issues related to the middle ear. It is a surgical procedure that involves making an incision in the eardrum (tympanic membrane) to relieve pressure caused by excessive buildup of fluid or to drain pus from the middle ear.

    A tympanostomy tube may be inserted through the eardrum to keep the middle ear aerated for a prolonged time and to prevent reaccumulation of fluid. Without the insertion of a tube, the incision usually heals spontaneously within two to three weeks. Depending on the type, the tube is either naturally extruded in 6 to 12 months or removed during a minor procedure.

    • Disease name

    Otitis Media

    • Surgery name

    Myringotomy

    • Duration

    30 - 40 minutes

    • Treated by

    ENT Surgeon (Otolaryngologists)

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    Best ENT treatment center for myringotomy

    Pristyn care is one of the best and largest surgery care providers in India. It has tie-ups with some of the best ENT clinics all over India to help provide advanced ear, nose, and throat treatment to all its patients at affordable prices. Additionally, Pristyn Care has a team of expert ENT specialists who perform advanced ear surgeries like tympanoplasty, myringotomy, tympanostomy, etc., without any complications or hearing loss for the patient.

    Pristyn Care also provides other auxiliary services to the patient, such as complete insurance and hospital documentation support, easy payment plans like no-cost EMI, etc. It also provides cab facility to the patient for pick up and drop off from the clinic on the day of surgery and complimentary meals during hospitalization.

    Are you going through any of these symptoms?

    When is a Myringotomy Required?

    Myringotomy is performed in cases where fluid is trapped in the middle ear canal. The most common condition for ear fluid is due to otitis media with effusion. When fluid is trapped in the middle ear, it interferes with the function of the eustachian tube and leads to balance issues. 

    Some of the common conditions that may necessitate a myringotomy include:

    • Recurrent otitis media (middle ear infections)
    • Ear bleeding due to trauma or eardrum perforation
    • Difficulty in hearing or muffled hearing
    • Eustachian tube dysfunction with associated hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus
    • Severe retraction pocket in the tympanic membrane
    • Difficulty in maintaining balance 
    • Ear barotrauma, i.e., sudden change in pressure in the air surrounding the ear canal, especially recurrently due to flying, diving, hyperbaric chamber treatment, etc.

    What are the Types of Myringotomy?

    There are different types of myringotomy procedures, which involve making a small incision in the eardrum to address various middle ear conditions. The primary types of myringotomy are as follows:

    • Traditional myringotomy: It is the most common type of myringotomy. In this surgical procedure, a small hole is made in the eardrum to drain fluid or pus from the middle ear and equalize pressure.
    • Laser-assisted myringotomy: It involves using a laser to create the incision, which minimizes bleeding and infection risks. It is often used in specific cases, such as those involving bleeding disorders or in children with small ear canals.

    The choice of myringotomy technique depends on factors like the patient’s condition, specific requirements, and the surgeon’s expertise. These procedures are typically performed under the influence of general anesthesia.

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    Diagnosis before myringotomy surgery

    A healthcare provider usually suggests a few diagnostic tests prior to the surgery to understand the severity of the condition and identify any underlying health condition that might complicate the surgery. Diagnosis usually begins with a physical examination. During the physical examination the doctor reviews the medical history to ascertain the cause of the ear infection. Following this, a doctor inspects the ear canal using an otoscope. The otoscope has an attached light and camera to help view the inner portion of the ear canal. In some cases, the surgeon may use a pneumatic otoscope, which helps check the movement of the eardrum to find out if the middle ear has fluid trapped inside.

    In addition to this, a surgeon may suggest some hearing tests like audiometry, tympanogram, tuning fork test, tympanometry, etc., to determine the severity of the patient’s hearing problem. Based on the results of these tests, the  doctor plans out the treatment. 

    Myringotomy surgery procedure

    Myringotomy is a surgical procedure usually performed to alleviate pressure and drain fluid from the middle ear. It is usually recommended to treat conditions like chronic otitis media with effusion or recurrent ear infections.

    The myringotomy surgery procedure involves several steps. Before the surgery, general anesthesia is administered, and the ear and surrounding area are cleaned. During the surgery, a small incision is made in the lower part of the eardrum, and any accumulated fluid or pus is suctioned out using a tube. 

    Depending on the specific condition and the surgeon’s judgment, a myringotomy tube (grommet or tympanostomy tube) is then inserted into the incision to maintain ventilation and prevent further fluid buildup. The incision typically heals on its own over time, while the tube remains in place for several months. However, once the tube has served its purpose and the middle ear has healed, it is naturally extruded (falls out) on its own. 

    Benefits of Myringotomy

    There are several benefits of myringotomy surgery, including

    • It helps restore hearing and prevent further hearing loss due to chronic fluid build-up in the ear canal.
    • It prevents delayed speech development caused by hearing loss in the primitive years of childhood.
    • It equalizes pressure in the eustachian tubes and restores the patient’s balance.
    • It is very effective in treating recurrent ear infections with effusion or ear infections that are not responding to conservative treatment.
    • It also helps manage the side effects/complications of chronic ear infections such as sinus infections, eye infections, etc.

    Preparation Before Myringotomy

    Listed below are some preparation tips to follow to reduce the chance of complications during the surgery:

     

    • Before surgery, a healthcare provider usually evaluates the individual’s medical history to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the overall health status of the patient, including information related to the medications that are currently being taken. Inform your doctor about all the medications you are currently taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements.
    • A doctor usually recommends stopping taking some medications to reduce the chances of bleeding. It is usually recommended to discontinue them for some time before the procedure. Make sure you follow the advice sincerely.
    • It is important to inform the doctor if you are allergic to any local anesthetics, lidocaine, etc., before the surgery.
    • Avoid application of any cosmetics, deodorant, or topical medicines on the area prior to the procedure.
    • It is advisable to quit smoking and the use of any nicotine-based products, for a while, before the surgery.
    • Consumption of alcoholic drinks must also be avoided for some time, as instructed by your doctor.
    • You must avoid eating or drinking at least 8 hours prior to the surgical procedure, depending on when the procedure is arranged.
    • If you are suffering from diabetes, it is important that your blood sugar stays within the normal range. A healthcare provider usually suggests controlling blood sugar by recommending insulin and/or a combination of oral medicines.

    Recovery After Myringotomy

    After myringotomy surgery, you must follow the given tips to promote your healing:

    • After the surgery, you will have a bandage in your ear to absorb the drainage. Do not get this bandage wet. The drainage eventually tapers off within the next 2-3 days. 
    • Change your gauze regularly to prevent the chances of infection at the surgery site.
    • Take all the prescribed medications. If a doctor prescribes ear drops, use them as directed. Generally, patients are prescribed antibiotic ear drops after surgery to eliminate the chances of infection.
    • If water gets in your ear accidentally, gently wipe your ear and monitor your drainage. A little drainage is not harmful, but if it continues even after 3 days, then you may need to consult your doctor.
    • Ask your ENT surgeon for approval before resuming showers and baths. While swimming or bathing, use earplugs to prevent water from entering your ear. Do not submerge your head underwater until you have received approval from your ENT specialist.
    • Do not clean your ears with a Q-Tip or anything similar till you have consulted your doctor. Also, ask your doctor before inserting anything in your ear during the recovery period.
    • Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any signs of infection, such as fever and chills, redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the ear. 

    Risk & Complications Associated with Myringotomy

    Generally, myringotomy surgery is a safe and effective procedure, but like any surgical procedure, it also carries certain risks and complications. Some common risks and complications associated with myringotomy surgery are as follows:

    • Risk of permanent eardrum perforation that doesn’t heal despite treatment
    • Hardening or scarring of the eardrum resulting in further hearing loss
    • Injury of the ear canal during the surgery
    • Hemorrhage or infection
    • Chronic drainage of the ear canal
    • Allergic reaction to the anesthesia
    • Permanent hearing loss
    • Failure of the treatment

    Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any signs of infection to avoid the chances of any complications and prevent permanent hearing loss.

    What’s the Difference Between Tympanostomy and Myringotomy?

    Tympanostomy and myringotomy are related procedures involving the middle ear and the eardrum. While they are often used interchangeably, there is a slight distinction between the two surgical procedures.

    Tympanostomy refers to a surgical technique in which a large incision is made in the eardrum to insert a ventilation tube or grommet. This tube helps equalize pressure and drain fluid from the middle ear. Tympanostomy is commonly performed for chronic ear infections or to manage conditions like otitis media with effusion. It is the actual placement of ear tubes into your eardrum.

    Myringotomy is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made in the eardrum. The incision is made to relieve pressure, drain fluid, and provide ventilation to the middle ear. Sometimes, myringotomy is performed as a standalone treatment. Often, however, it’s combined with tympanostomy. 

    Lifestyle Changes After Myringotomy Surgery

    Listed below are some lifestyle changes that you must follow after the surgery to promote healing:

    • Protect your ears: During the recovery process, it’s crucial to shield your ears from water and irritants. Use earplugs or cotton balls coated with petroleum jelly while bathing, swimming, or engaging in water-related activities.
    • Avoid pressure changes: Rapid pressure changes like air travel or scuba diving can significantly affect the function of the ear tubes. It’s generally advised to refrain from these activities until your healthcare provider approves.
    • Follow-up visits: During recovery, it’s important to attend all regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor healing progress and determine when the ear tubes can be removed. Share any concerns or symptoms you may have with your healthcare provider.
    • Care for your ears: Keep your ears clean and dry. Avoid using cotton swabs or inserting anything into the ears that could damage or disrupt the ear tubes. Follow the specific cleaning instructions provided by your healthcare provider.
    • Promptly address infections: If you experience symptoms of an ear infection, such as pain, drainage, or hearing loss, contact your healthcare provider. Timely treatment can prevent complications and aid proper healing.
    • Manage discomfort: After myringotomy surgery, there is a chance of mild pain, discomfort, or ear drainage. A healthcare provider usually prescribes pain medication or suggests over-the-counter pain relievers. Follow their instructions for managing any discomfort.
    • Consult your healthcare provider: If you have any concerns or questions about your recovery or lifestyle restrictions, discuss them with your healthcare provider. They can offer specific guidance based on your individual situation.

    Remember to always follow the instructions and advice provided by your healthcare provider, as they will have the most accurate information regarding your specific case.

    Cost of Myringotomy Surgery In India

    The average cost of myringotomy surgery in India is INR 50000. This is the estimated cost of surgery, the final cost can vary depending on various factors, including:

    • City of the treatment
    • Cost of hospitalization
    • Type of the surgery
    • Patient’s age and health condition
    • Choice of the surgical graft/implant
    • Post-surgical care
    • Complications during or after the surgery
    • Surgeon’e fees
    • Cost of diagnostic test
    • Insurance coverage, etc.

    Myringotomy Surgery Coverage Under Insurance

    Yes, most insurance companies in India cover the cost of myringotomy surgery as it is considered a medically necessary procedure. However, the specifics can vary from policy to policy. It’s important to contact your insurance provider to understand the specifics of the policy before the surgery. Here’s a list of top health insurance providers that cover the cost of myringotomy in India:

    • Aditya Birla Health Insurance Co. Ltd.
    • Future Generali India Insurance Co. Ltd.

    Home Remedies For Ear Infection/ Ear Fluid buildup Treatment

    Here are some home remedies that you can try for ear infection/ear fluid buildup treatment:

    • Cold or warm compresses

    Both warm and cold compresses can relieve pain associated with an ear infection. Hold either a hot pad or cold washcloth against the ear for 10 to 15 minutes or switch between hot and cold for an easy ear infection remedy, especially for children. 

    • Ginger

    Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger in the form of juice or infused oil can be applied to the outer ear canal to encourage healing. You must avoid putting it directly into the ear.

    • Apple cider vinegar

    Apple cider vinegar helps in treating ear infections because it contains acetic acid, which is antibacterial. Try this home remedy by mixing equal parts of apple cider vinegar and warm water. Apply a few drops to the affected ear with a dropper bottle. Alternatively, you can soak a cotton ball with the warm water-vinegar solution, put it on the outside of the ear, and let it sink into the affected area.

    • Mullein

    Oil made from the flowers of the mullein plant is an effective pain reliever for ear infections. Mullein is readily available in general stores as a stand-alone tincture or an ingredient in herbal ear drops.

    • Vitamin D 

    Vitamin D helps in boosting immunity. The risk of ear infections gets reduced by increasing serum levels of vitamin D through food consumption, supplementation, and direct sunlight.

    • Garlic oil

    Garlic oil has antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It can be applied to the ear canal to help kill bacteria or viruses that might be causing an ear infection. You can also soak crushed garlic cloves in warm olive oil to make your own garlic oil ear drops.

    • Facial gua sha

    Facial gua sha, is a massage technique using a jade stone or rose quartz to relax muscles and improve circulation. It can also be used to release the jaw and neck muscles. 

    • Olive oil

    Olive oil is used for treating ear infections and helps in reducing the pain associated with ear infections. It has soothing properties and can help soften earwax, helping to remove it.

    • Onions

    Onions can significantly help in treating ear infections. Boil an onion, let it cool, then cut it in half. Apply a few drops of squeezed onion in the ear. It is one of the fast and effective ways to relieve pain from an ear infection. 

    • Basil

    Basil is another home remedy used to treat ear infections. It is full of antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Crush a few basil leaves and strain the juice from them. Then, add one to two drops in the ear.

    It is important to note that home remedies can temporarily help in relieving the symptoms. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, then you must consult a healthcare provider instead of relying completely on home remedies.

    Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

    Before undergoing myringotomy, it’s important to have a better understanding of the procedure and the risks and complications associated with it. Here are some questions to ask your surgeon before undergoing a myringotomy:

    • What to expect after myringotomy?
    • What is the success rate of myringotomy?
    • How safe is myringotomy?
    • What are the different types of ear infection surgery?
    • What to avoid during myringotomy?
    • What are the risks and complications associated with myringotomy?
    • Does myringotomy require anesthesia?
    • Can a myringotomy cause nerve damage?
    • What is the average cost of myringotomy?
    • What is the typical period for myringotomy recovery?
    • Does hearing improve after myringotomy?
    • What are the potential benefits of myringotomy?
    • Is myringotomy painful?
    • What precautions do I need to take after myringotomy surgery?

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I get myringotomy under local anesthesia?

    Yes, while general anesthesia is preferred for kids, myringotomy surgery for adults can be performed under local anesthesia, provided the surgeon can count on them to stay still during the surgery.

    What are the different types of tympanostomy tubes?

    There are 4 main types of ventilation tubes used during a tympanostomy – Long Armstrong tubes, Donaldson tubes, Shepard tubes and straight tubes, based on shape. The type of tube used during the surgery depends on the severity of the condition, the length of the patient’s ear canal, the amount of time the tube is expected to stay in the ear canal, etc. Ear tubes are usually made of silicone, plastic, or metal.

    What is BM-T procedure?

    BM-T stands for bilateral myringotomy and tubes. It is a surgery in which a small opening is made in each eardrum and a small tube is placed in the opening. It is generally performed in children with severe infection in both ears.

    When can I get back to work after myringotomy?

    You can return to work within 1-2 days of the surgery as long as you follow your surgeon’s instructions and take your medicines on time. After surgery, you will notice a significant improvement in your hearing within a week and can recover completely within 3-4 weeks.

    Can I get a myringotomy under local anesthesia?

    Yes, myringotomy is performed under the influence of anesthesia. For kids, a doctor usually recommends general anesthesia, while for adults, local anesthesia is preferred

    Can myringotomy be performed using a laser?

    Yes, myringotomy surgery can be performed using a CO2 laser. Laser-assisted myringotomy is an alternative method to the traditional myringotomy procedure, where a small incision is made in the eardrum to drain fluid or pus from the middle ear. 

    What is the BM-T procedure?

    BM-T stands for bilateral myringotomy and tubes. It is a surgery in which a small opening is made in each eardrum, and a small tube is placed in the opening. It is generally performed in children with severe infections in both ears.

    What are the risks of ear tubes?

    While ear tubes are very effective, sometimes they do not prevent ear infections or even lead to further infections. Sometimes holes can even lead to permanent scarring or holes in the eardrum that can lead to further loss of hearing.

    When should I call my healthcare provider?

    If you’ve recently undergone myringotomy, it’s important to keep a close eye on any side effects. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you develop:

    • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Chest pain
    • Pain that doesn’t improve with medication
    • Redness, swelling, or excessive ear bleeding or discharge
    • Hearing problems
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    Content Reviewed By
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    Dr. Neha B Lund
    14 Years Experience Overall
    Last Updated : May 28, 2024