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Myringotomy Surgery: Information on the procedure, risks, complications and preparations

  • Posted on- Aug 16, 2016
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Myringotomy is a procedure that involves surgically opening the eardrum and removing fluid that builds up within the middle ear. A small tube, called a tympanostomy tube or an ear tube, is then inserted into this opening. A Myringotomy procedure involves the eardrum, middle ear, and external ear canal.

What are the reasons behind a myringotomy procedure?

A Myringotomy is performed for long-standing middle ear inflammation with fluid collection, and for the following reasons:

  • The condition is not responding to medical treatment
  • Relieving pain that is causing pressure
  • Prevent additional ear infections
  • Prevent temporary or permanent loss of hearing

How a myringotomy procedure is performed?

  • A Myringotomy procedure can generally be performed under local anaesthesia
  • After numbing and washing the ear canal, a tiny incision is made on the eardrum to remove fluid from the middle ear
  • An ear tube is inserted to keep this opening patent
  • The ear is the packed using cotton, to stop any bleeding

An otolaryngologist surgeon performs the Myringotomy surgical procedure. It takes about a few minutes to perform the Myringotomy procedure.

Preparations needed before a myringotomy procedure

  • The physician may evaluate 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 being currently taken
  • Some medications increase a person’s chances of bleeding and it may be recommended to discontinue them for a period of time, before the procedure is performed
  • Blood tests may be performed to determine if there is a bleeding tendency or any other medical conditions that prevents the person from undergoing the procedure
  • Inform the physician if you are allergic to any local anaesthetics, lidocaine, etc.
  • 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 a period of time, as instructed
  • The patient must avoid eating or drinking at least 8 hours prior to the surgical procedure, depending on when the procedure is arranged
  • For persons suffering from diabetes, it is important that the blood sugar stays within the normal range if not their diabetologist may have to control blood sugar by recommending insulin or a combination of oral medicines

Diagnostic lab tests needed before a myringotomy procedure

Before a Myringotomy procedure, the patient has to undergo certain tests, such as:

Risks and complications during myringotomy surgical procedure

The possible risks or complications that may arise during the Myringotomy surgery are:

Risks and complications after myringotomy surgical procedure

The possible risks and complications that may arise after the Myringotomy procedure are:
  • Infection in the surgical wound
  • Perforated eardrum that does not heal
  • Trapping of the ear tube in the middle ear
  • Cholesteatoma - a condition in which the skin cells grow inside the middle ear and erode the underlying bone
  • Loss of hearing

Post-operative care needed after a myringotomy surgical procedure

At home, the following post-operative care is recommended after a Myringotomy procedure:
  • Medicated ear drops may be prescribed to treat infections, if additional ear infections develop
  • Complete the course of prescribed medication, as advised by your physician
  • Take antibiotic medication to help combat or prevent infections
  • Use of ear plugs while showering may be advised
  • Avoid taking non-prescription medications, such as aspirin. However, individuals may take acetaminophen to relieve pain (as prescribed)


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