Drainage after tubes seems to happen in about 10% of patients. It seems to have no connection with sterile technique of the surgeon or even water exposures after the procedure. It is best treated with antibiotic ear drops and there is some evidence that the addition of a steroid to the drops is helpful.
Aseptic surgical technique and postgromet otorrrhea
Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 2003 Dec:67 Suppl 1:S233-5
• No significant difference in the incidence of postoperative otorrhea using either sterile gloves and masks vs clean non-sterile gloves.
Tympanostomy tubes and early post-operative otorrhea
Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 1994 Aug:30(2):111-4
• Study demonstrated a low incidence of otorrhea in the early post-operative period with either touch or non-touch technique of the tympanostomy tube. Equal 1.67% post-op otorrhea. Stated that “Time consuming and costly sterile precautions are unnecessary”