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Talking Tubes with Dr. Truitt

Ear Tube placement is one of the most popular surgeries performed on children. Along with the removal of Tonsils and Adenoids, the ENT team at St. Cloud Surgical Center stays busy helping our littlest patients!

A Myringotomy, or ear tube surgery, is one of the most popular procedures done by the ENT specialists at St. Cloud Surgical Center. Ear tube surgery is best thought of as a ventilation surgery. Tubes are typically needed when the eustachian tube from the nose to the ear is not allowing the necessary amount of ventilation, resulting in ear infections, fluid building up, and more. We recently sat down with Dr. Theodore Truitt to learn more about this popular procedure, including how you, as the parent, can prepare.

Why does my child need ear tubes?

Recurrent ear infections are the #1 reason parents consider ear tubes for their children. Children who start getting 4, 5, or 6 ear infections in a year and rotate through antibiotics are prime candidates for a myringotomy. Tubes put an end to all infections. Another reason a child might need tubes is for fluid build-up that results in difficulty hearing. Sometimes, it’s a combination of the two. To clear the fluid and prevent further infections, tubes will be placed to ventilate the space allowing your child to hear better and spend less time at the doctor.

Do tubes need to be removed?

Short answer, sometimes but not always.

Long answer, there are two types of tubes, Short Acting, aka temporary tubes, and Long-Acting, aka permanent tubes. Removal of the tubes depends on what type your child has.

  • Short Acting (Temporary Tubes): Last about 6 to 18 months. The eardrum will start working on a process of growing underneath the tube and pushing them out—roughly 5% of the time, we have to take temporary tubes out in the office.
  • Long Acting (Permanent tubes): These tubes are reserved for children with chronic problems, and you expect to continue placing tubes in the child’s ear until they reach a certain age. In this case, putting in a longer-lasting tube is better. The downside to this option is that there will be a hole in the drum when the tube comes out, and the longer that tube is there. The chance of the hole closing on its own is lower, meaning a future surgery might be necessary. Once these tubes have been in for about 2 to 3 years, we like to schedule removal and assess from there.

I’m a parent, and I’m nervous. Is that normal?

Parents, we know how you feel, mainly because most of us are parents, too! Being nervous is normal when your child is undergoing any type of surgery. At St. Cloud Surgical Center, we do everything possible to make the experience comfortable for you and your little ones. You’ll have the opportunity to hold your child’s hand as they go back to the OR, and once the short procedure is complete, we’ll bring them to the room where you are waiting. Your face is the first they see when they wake up!

Thankfully, surgery and recovery time for ear tube surgery is speedy, with most patients back to normal in two hours. Yes, we said hours. In fact, the feedback we often hear from parents, “Wow, it doesn’t even feel like my child had surgery!” As the week progress, your child may be able to hear and balance better, and you’ll noticeably have spent less time at the doctor. So, while it seems scary initially, ear tube surgery benefits you and your child.

Bottomline, Dr. Truitt and the rest of the ENT surgeons are confident in the team at St. Cloud Surgical Center. Together, we’ll make sure your child’s surgery is short, and recovery is quick!

Contact St. Cloud Surgical Center to learn more about our ENT procedures and if your child is a good candidate!