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BMTT Home Care Instructions

BMTT means ear tube insertion.

  • B: bilateral (each side).
  • M: myringotomy (small hole put in the eardrum)
  • TT: tympanotomy tubes (eardrum tubes)

The purpose of ear tube surgery is to get rid of the fluid buildup in your child's ear and to keep the pressure in the ear the same as it is in the air. This will reduce the chances of new infections.

Ear tubes are needed when:

  • Hearing loss occurs from fluid buildup behind the ear affecting speech, language development, and learning.
  • Ear infections do not respond to antibiotics.

Will ear tubes stop ear infections?

Not always. They do help lower the number of ear infections your child has. When infections do occur, the tubes allow for drainage while your child is on medicine.

Why do ear tubes need to be done in the hospital?

Your child will be asleep with a special medicine called anesthesia. He/she will not feel anything during surgery.

How are tubes put in the ear?

The doctor uses a microscope to see into the ear and makes a tiny cut into the eardrum. Fluid is removed and the doctor puts the ear tube in through the tiny cut.

How long does it take?

About 15-20 minutes. Your child will wake up in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU).

What to expect after surgery:

  • Most children are fussy for the first few hours after surgery. Parents will be invited to the PACU soon after the child awakens.
  • You may see some clear or blood tinged liquid coming out of one or both ears. This is normal. It should stop within the first two to three days.
  • Your child may begin normal activity right after leaving the hospital and may return to school the next day.

Care of the ears after surgery:

  • Your child's doctor may ask you to put some medicine drops in your child's ears for up to three days after the surgery. Your child's nurse will explain how to use them.
  • Do not let water to get into your child's ears until allowed by the doctor.
  • Check with your child's doctor about swimming.
  • Do not put cotton-tip applicators (Q-tip) into your child's ears.

When to call your child's doctor:

  • Bright red blood drains from your child's ears.
  • Your child has ear pain that is not relieved by a non-aspirin pain reliever.
  • Your child's temperature is greater than 101.0F by mouth or rectally. Slight fevers after surgery are normal. You should take your child's temperature at least once before bedtime tonight.
  • Your child has vomiting that lasts more than six hours or if the vomiting is severe. Your child's nurse will discuss this with you before your child goes home.
  • There are signs of dehydration. Your child can become dehydrated when he/she has prolonged or severe vomiting and is not able to drink enough fluid to keep up with the loss.
    Signs of dehydration include:
    • dry mouth
    • decreased amount of urine (fewer wet diapers than usual for an infant or toddler)
    • sunken look around eyes
    • no tears when crying
  • Your child has signs and symptoms of infection.
    Signs and symptoms of infection include:
    • fever
    • drainage from the ears
    • pain

Eardrops:

  • Ear drops may be given to you after ear tubes are placed. These are for home use to prevent or treat ear infections after ear tubes are in. These also help to prevent blood clotting in the tubes and decrease irritation in your child's ear.
  • The doctor may want you to use the ear drops they used in surgery for a few days after ear tubes are placed. Most doctors want you to save any unused ear drops for future use. Sometimes the eardrops are used after swimming or bathing. Follow the instructions your child's doctor gives you.
  • Some children do not like the eardrops. This is normal. The liquid may feel cold or the ears may be tender after surgery. Some parents prefer to insert the eardrops while their child is asleep.
  • Be sure the eardrops go into the ear canal. Once it goes into the ear, it may run right out again. You do not need to restrain your child once the drops are in.
  • Use drops only as directed.

Follow up:

  • A checkup will be scheduled 2-6 weeks after surgery.
  • The tubes usually fall out on their own between 6 and 24 months. Often, parents do not even notice when they fall out.
  • Swimming is usually okay, but no diving. Earplugs are usually not necessary.
  • Avoid getting soap and shampoo in the ears.

REMEMBER: Please call if you have any questions. Use the phone number your child's nurse gives you.

When in doubt call your doctor.


Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 3/2007