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Ear Tubes in Children

Ear infections can be common for young children, but when they happen too often it's time to consider using ear tubes to help with treatment.
JOPLIN, MO---"A child will normally complain of ear pain, hearing loss...it's usually mild.  Significant discomfort as well as running a high fever," says ear, nose and throad surgeon Dr. Nathan Box.

Just a few signs your child could have an ear infection and may need to have ear tubes.

"Usually recommends ear tubes in children when they've had four treated episodes of a middle ear infection in six months or three episodes that have been treated with an antibiotice in one year's time," Dr Box says.

The tubes help equalize pressure in the ear and give the antibiotics a chance to do their job.

"Unless the child perforates their ear drum, there's no way for the antibiotic eardrops to get to the space behind the ear drum, but that's the whole reason for having tubes because it allows a connection to the space behind the ear drum so that anitbiotics can be used to clear the infection," Dr Box says.

It takes just a few minutes to perform the procedure.

"A gas anesthesia with a mask.  And once they're asleep I just go ahead and make a nick in the ear drum with a very small incision and if there is fluid behind the ear drum at that time I'll go ahead and aspirate it with the suction.  Then I go ahead and place the tube in the ear drum," Dr. Box says.
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