A cold or some other upper respiratory infection can cause the eustachian tubes to swell, blocking the normal drainage from the middle ear. The fluid buildup can lower your or your child's ability to hear, and the warm, moist environment makes it easy for bacteria and viruses to grow, causing an ear infection.
A small cut (incision) is made in the eardrum to allow fluid to drain.
Fluid from the middle ear drains through the incision into the ear canal and is suctioned out by the doctor.
The temporary tube is inserted into the eardrum incision to prevent future fluid buildup.
Last Revised: January 13, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology
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