What happens after myringotomy and tympanostomy?
Patients can typically go home the same day after the procedure. The recovery period is quite short. Patients may experience minimal pain and discomfort, but this usually resolves in a few days. The doctor may prescribe painkillers, antibiotic ear drops, or oral antibiotics. The doctor may also prescribe oral decongestants, nasal decongestant drops, and nasal steroid sprays. Nasal allergies and nasal discharge can cause fluid accumulation in the middle ear through the eustachian tube.
Once the tympanostomy tubes are placed, patients would not be able to perform certain activities, such as scuba diving or swim deep underwater (swimming on the surface is acceptable). Patients may need to wear earplugs after the procedure to prevent water from entering the ears. The tympanostomy tubes will eventually fall out of the tympanic membrane in around 6-9 months and the opening that was made will seal on its own. Rarely, the tube may have to be removed by the doctor and the opening may need to be surgically closed.
The risks of a tympanostomy procedure are as follows:
- Persistent tympanic membrane perforation: This may need an additional procedure to seal the membrane
- Tympanostomy tube otorrhea: Persistent ear discharge due to a biofilm formation over the tube
- Retained tympanostomy tubes requiring another operation for removal
- Accidental displacement of the tube into the middle ear cavity
- Localized thinning of the tympanic membrane due to the cut made