Friday, May 30, 2008

Ear Tube Surgery for Monday

For the past couple of months Jordan has been pulling on her ears, crying, and now that she's understanding and "talking" a bit more she is telling us her ears hurt. I've taken her in four times to see if she has an infection but each time the doctors say there isn't one, she's fine. They've been correct in that there is not an ear infection but what they couldn't know is that her ear tubes have come out and now she has fluid and pressure in her ears. Our pediatrician got us a quick authorization to see an Ear Nose Throat doctor (ENT) yesterday who examined her ears and did a tympanogram (a test that blows a puff of air into the ear canal then measures the amount of movement in the ear drum. That tells whether or not ear tubes are in place or working properly or if there might be fluid in the ear. The tympanogram showed that she does, indeed, need new tubes and the ENT says she's uncomfortable due to fluid build up. Poor thing. Thankfully he squeezed her in so that he could do her surgery Monday morning - yes, this Monday. It's more of a procedure than a "real" surgery as we've known surgeries to be. It's outpatient and only takes about 15 minutes. We'll get there at 5:45 a.m., the surgery will start at 6:45 and we'll be on our merry way home by 7:45 or 8:00. Our ENT (Dr. Avrum Kaufman) has a five week old at home so let's all hope that baby sleeps well the night before so that he's got a steady hand. :)

Incase any of you faithful bloggers are interested I found a great site that has an actual video of an ear tube surgery. I watched it before Jordan's first set were put in at four months. If you want to, check it out.

Here's another site that describes what the surgery does and is like.

Tympanostomy Tube Surgery

If your child is old enough to understand what surgery is, you may want to prepare him or her for the visit by talking about what to expect. The following steps will be taken during ear tube surgery:

  • Your child will receive general anesthesia. This means the surgery will be performed in a hospital so that an anesthesiologist can monitor your child. Typically the procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • The surgeon will make a small hole in the eardrum and remove fluid from the middle ear using suction. Because the surgeon can reach the eardrum through the ear canal, there is no visible incision or stitches.
  • The surgeon will finish by inserting a small metal or plastic tube into the hole in the eardrum.

After the procedure, your child will wake up in the recovery area. In most cases, the total time spent in the hospital is a few hours. Extremely young children or those with significant medical problems may stay for a longer period.

After Surgery

A tympanostomy tube helps prevent recurring ear infections by allowing air into the middle ear. Other substances, including water, may sometimes enter the middle ear through the tube, but this is generally not a problem. Your surgeon may or may not feel that earplugs are necessary for regular bathing or swimming.

In most cases, surgery to remove a tympanostomy tube is not necessary. The tube usually falls out on its own, pushed out as the eardrum heals. A tube generally stays in the ear anywhere from 6 months to 18 months, depending on the type of tube used. If the tube remains in the eardrum beyond 2 to 3 years, however, it will likely be removed surgically to prevent a perforation in the eardrum or accumulation of debris around the tube.

Although effective in reducing chronic ear infections, ear tubes are not always a permanent cure for otitis media. Up to 25% of children who need ear tubes before the age of 2 may need them again.

I'll update on Monday. :)


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