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Tubes for ear infections

Fluid buildup in the middle ear

Normal middle ear and fluid buildup in the middle ear
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slide 1 of 4, Fluid buildup in the middle ear,

A cold or some other upper respiratory infection can cause the eustachian tubes to swell, blocking the normal drainage from the middle ear. The fluid buildup can lower your or your child's ability to hear. And the warm, moist environment makes it easy for bacteria and viruses to grow, causing an ear infection.

Incision made in the eardrum

An incision made in the eardrum
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slide 2 of 4, Incision made in the eardrum,

A small cut (incision) is made in the eardrum to allow fluid to drain.

Fluid draining through the incision

Fluid draining through the incision
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slide 3 of 4, Fluid draining through the incision,

Fluid from the middle ear drains through the incision into the ear canal and is suctioned out by the doctor.

Ear tube placed

An ear tube in place and fluid draining into the ear canal
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slide 4 of 4, Ear tube placed,

The temporary tube is inserted into the eardrum incision to prevent future fluid buildup.

Current as ofOctober 21, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics