Ear tube placement is a relatively safe procedure with a low risk of serious complications. Possible risks include:
- Bleeding and infection
- Persistent drainage of fluid
- Blocked tubes from blood, mucus or other secretions
- Scarring or weakening of the eardrum
- Tubes falling out too early or staying in too long
- Failure of eardrum to close after the tube falls out or is removed
Surgery for ear tube placement usually requires general anesthesia, which carries some risks as well. Although the risks of anesthesia are very low in otherwise healthy children, possible problems include:
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- Allergic reaction
- Breathing difficulties
- Heart irregularities
- Nausea or vomiting after the procedure
- Ear tubes. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/Ear-Tubes.cfm. Accessed Jan. 31, 2013.
- Otitis media (ear infection). National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/earinfections.aspx. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- Lalwani AK. Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=39. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- Q&A for parents: Your child's surgery. American Society of Anesthesiologists. http://www.lifelinetomodernmedicine.com/Anesthesia-Topics/QA-for-Parents-Your-Childs-Surgery.aspx. Accessed Jan. 31, 2013.