Myringotomy and ear drainage tubes

"A complete head and neck scan is necessary to identify factors that predispose to this type of problem".


What are ear drainage tubes used for?

Myringotomy with insertion of drainage tubes in the ear is an operation that is mainly performed in children when they suffer from processes of repeated acute otitis media or in the event that mucus accumulates in the spaces of the middle ear, behind the eardrum, due to a malfunctioning of the Eustachian tube.

The procedure is intended to restore normal ear function by draining accumulated fluid and aeration of the middle ear spaces.

Imagen del icono de la consulta de Segunda Opinión. Clínica Universidad de Navarra

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When is myringotomy indicated?

The operation is indicated in several circumstances:

  • If you suffer from a significant number of acute otitis (more than 4 in 6 months or 6 in 1 year).
  • If the mucus deposit remains more than three months.
  • If anatomical alterations appear in the tympanic membrane.
  • If the patient presents a hearing loss of moderate intensity.

Most frequent indications of this disease:

Do you have any of these problems?

You may need to have a myringotomy

How is myringotomy performed?

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia in children or with local anesthesia in adults. After a small incision is made in the eardrum (called a myringotomy), the mucus that has accumulated in the ear is suctioned out, and then a small tube is inserted through the incision to allow air to enter and fluid to exit the middle ear continuously.

If the procedure goes smoothly, it can also decrease the frequency of ear infections.

The ventilation tube achieves a free exchange between the external ear and the middle ear and replaces the function of the Eustachian tube until it can function normally again. The tube eliminates the sensation of plugging and achieves normal hearing again.

The person undergoing surgery does not feel the presence of the tube placed in the eardrum and can lead a practically normal life, although as a precaution, it is recommended not to immerse the head in water while the tubes remain in the ear.

The tube remains inserted, for a variable time, generally between 6 and 12 months although the type of tube influences the time of permanence (there are some tubes designed to remain for several years).

The tube can be removed, although it is generally preferred that it remain until it is naturally detached by the healing of the tympanic membrane.

Where do we do it?


The Department of Otolaryngology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Otorhinolaryngology of the University of Navarra Clinic is a national and world reference in numerous highly specialized surgical procedures.

We have the latest technology and we perform all diagnostic tests in less than 48 hours in order to offer our patients the best solution in the shortest time possible.

We were one of the first centers in Spain to use robotic surgery in the surgical treatment with the Da Vinci® System. 

Organized in specialized units:

  • Otology - Hearing.
  • Rhinology - Nose.
  • Pharyngology - Throat.
  • Laryngology - Voice.
  • Balance disorders.
  • Head and neck problems.
Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Experts in the treatment of hearing problems.
  • Pioneers in axillary surgery to avoid scarring.
  • National reference center in tissue sealing for tonsil removal.

Our team of professionals

Otolaryngology specialists with experience in performing myringotomy