Surgical incision (myringotomy)

Otitis media typically clears up with proper medication and home treatment. In many cases, however, we may recommend further treatment. An operation called a myringotomy may be recommended, in which a small surgical incision is made in the eardrum to help fluids drain and to relieve pain. This treatment is done in our office using topical anesthesia (ear drops).

This incision heals within a few days with practically no scarring or injury to the eardrum. In fact, the surgical opening can heal so fast that it often closes before the infection and the fluid are gone. A ventilation tube can be placed in the incision to keep it open and ventilate the middle ear to prevent the more fluid from accumulating.

The incision also improves the hearing and balance. Proponents suggest this can reduce the many courses of antibiotic treatment for severe ear infections and eliminates the need for surgical insertion of tubes with general anesthesia.

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