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Risks of PE Tube Surgery or Tympanostomy

PE tube surgery, or tympanostomy, is performed by an otolaryngologist, or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. As with most surgical procedures, there are some risks associated with PE tube surgery. Standard surgical risks may include:

  • Fever
  • Bleeding
  • Infection, or
  • Allergic or adverse reactions to anesthesia medications

Before your child’s surgery, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the anesthesia risks in detail with your healthcare team. They’ll be able to tell you about the types of medications that will be used, their durations, and any possible side effects. Typically PE tube surgery is brief and requires a small amount of anesthesia, which helps to keep the risks to a minimum.

For some, the procedure is not particularly painful, but if your child does experience discomfort after the tubes have been inserted, most over-the-counter pain medications can relieve any discomfort associated with the surgery. It’s also important to note that some children may experience nausea and vomiting. If this occurs, offer the child small sips of clear liquids and progress to a light diet, then to a normal diet as tolerated. In any case, be sure to check with your healthcare team before offering your child any over-the-counter medication.