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Instructions After Your Myringotomy With Tube Placement

This information will help you care for yourself after your myringotomy with tube placement.

A myringotomy with tube placement is a procedure that is done to relieve pressure and drain fluid from behind your eardrum. You may have this procedure done as an outpatient or under general anesthesia (medication to make you sleepy) in the operating room.

During this procedure, your doctor will apply a local anesthetic (numbing medication) to your eardrum. He or she will make a small incision (surgical cut) on your eardrum. A tube is then placed to allow fluid to drain out. This relieves pressure and improves your hearing.

After Your Procedure

  • You may have mild discomfort 1 to 2 days after your procedure. To relieve any discomfort, take 1 to 2 tablets of acetaminophen (Tylenol®) every 4 to 6 hours. If the acetaminophen doesn’t help, call your doctor.
  •  It may take a few days for your hearing to improve.
  • You may have some temporary dizziness. If you feel dizzy for more than 12 hours, call your doctor.
  • You may notice a small amount of clear- or yellow-colored fluid draining from your ear. This is normal and may last for a few months.
  • Avoid shaking your head vigorously.
  • Do not get water in your affected ear(s) while the tube is in place.
    • Before you shower, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly (e.g., Vaseline®) to a cotton ball. Place the cotton ball in your affected ear(s). You can also use a waterproof earplug, if you prefer.
    • Until your doctor gives you other instructions, you must wear a waterproof earplug in your affected ear(s) while swimming to prevent any water from getting into your ear canal. If any water enters your ear canal, you may get an infection.
  • The tube will eventually fall out of your affected ear(s). This usually happens 6 months after your procedure.

Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:

  • Dizziness that does not get better 12 hours after your procedure
  • A temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher
  • Increased pain or discomfort in your affected ear(s)
  • A loss of hearing in your affected ear(s)
  • Green or yellow drainage with an odor from your affected ear(s)