Just about every child, by the time he or she turns 5, endures at least one painful ear infection. At our Anchorage, Alaska practice we see children who suffer repeated infections, each treated with a course of antibiotics. Chronic ear infections that are resistant to medication may pose a risk of hearing loss or delays in speech development. An ear, nose and throat specialist can insert tiny tubes in the eardrum which prevent fluid buildup and reduce recurrent ear infections.
Our board-certified physicians use their expertise to know when to recommend ear tubes are needed to treat Anchorage children with recurrent ear infections. The best way to determine if your child will benefit from ear tubes is to request a consultation online to meet with one of our doctors. Or call (907) 279-8800 to schedule an appointment. For our Homer and surrounding patients, please call (907) 235-0310.
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Ear tube surgery (myringotomy) is one of the most frequently performed pediatric surgeries. Most children who undergo the procedure are between the ages of 1 and 3, but older children sometimes benefit from tubes. Inserting tubes can be done as an outpatient procedure, with children able to return home within 2 hours after surgery.
The small tubes are inserted through a tiny incision made in the ear drum. Any fluid behind the drum is suctioned from the middle ear. The procedure typically takes only about 15 minutes, but does require a brief general anesthetic. Although all surgical procedures include some degree of risk, complications following the placement of ear tubes are rare. Children remain under observation by your surgeon at Alaska Center for Ear, Nose and Throat after waking up. Grogginess, irritability, and nausea are some fairly common side effects caused by the anesthesia. Antibiotic ear drops are usually prescribed to prevent incisions from becoming infected.
Hearing loss due to fluid behind the eardrum should be gone after tube surgery. Patients typically do not require pain medication. Children can return to school or day care the day after the procedure.