Once surgery is completed, your child will be taken to the recovery room.
Depending on the medical facility, parents or caregivers may be allowed in the recovery room. The healthcare team monitors your child while the anesthesia wears off. If no complications occur, your child is usually released from the medical facility on the same day.
Your provider may prescribe eardrops and/or oral antibiotics for a few days after surgery. It’s always important to follow your healthcare provider’s post-op and home-care instructions.
Specific instructions may also be given regarding:
- Physical activities and diet
- Drainage, fever, infection, bleeding, or excessive pain
- When the child can return to daycare or school
- Water activity instructions, and
- How to keep the ear canal dry
To avoid the possibility of bacteria entering the middle ear, your healthcare team may recommend keeping your child’s ears dry by using ear plugs or other water-tight devices during bathing, swimming, and other water activities. In most cases, special protection may not be necessary.
For children who are allowed to get their ears wet while swimming in a pool, it’s important not to dive too far below the surface of the water. The pressure from this may cause water to enter the middle ear.
Your child will need a follow-up visit with their healthcare team shortly after the surgery. Your provider will check the PE tubes to make sure they’re still in place and that the eardrums are healing properly.
The majority of children do well after PE tube surgery. Most resume their normal routines within a few days.
It’s important to keep in mind that your child can still develop ear infections, even with PE tubes in place. If an infection occurs after surgery, it may be caused by:
- Fluid not draining from the ear
- Re-exposure to bacteria or a virus, or
- Irritation to the ear
Typically, as long as the PE tubes are functioning properly, any infection should be less severe and less frequent. However, if your child has any drainage, fever, or other symptoms, be sure to inform your healthcare team. Antibiotic eardrops may be needed.
After the PE tube surgery, feel free to contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.