Babies: 9 - 12 Months

Ear Tubes

DD is on ear infection #4 in 2 months.  We finally have a referral to an ENT specialist.  If you've been through this, what questions should I ask?  What can you tell me about the procedure?  I won't know much until we meet with the ENT doc and it's bugging me.

TIA!

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Re: Ear Tubes

  • With it being springtime I think the main question I would ask would be what the odds are of the ear infections subsiding as the weather warms up.  If the ENT feels they will subside, will you have to go through multiple infections again next year to consider tubes or will they just base it off of this winter's history?  

    As far as the procedure itself, DD had them put in when she was 10 months old and it was super fast.  DD was back to normal within an hour of having her tubes put in and started crawling for the first time two hours after surgery.  I know some kids wake up groggy, disoriented, and grumpy, but once DD was awake she was fine.  She woke up, nursed, and went back to sleep for the car ride home.  When we got home she woke up for good and was fine.  You never would have known she had just had a procedure done.  She only had one full-blown infection with the tubes in, lost them this past October (almost 3 years after getting them) and has had one infection since.  

    One warning, if she does have drainage after surgery it looks horrible (wax, pus, blood) but its completely normal and any subsequent infections will have the nasty drainage as well.  

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  • DD got tubes when she was 18 months old - September 2010.  I agree with asking about the warming weather but I also know I didn't want DD to keep taking antibiotics.  She had several infections - even in the summer.  I would ask what material the tubes are made of.  DDs are metal & they've been great.  We just had a follow-up with the ENT & the tubes appeared to have just fallen out.  They are in the ear canal so he prescribed drops to help loosen the wax and help them out.

    Regarding the procedure:  the worst part was waiting for it to start.  We had to get to the surgery center very early, no food, only water.  Once we were there we had to wait about 45 minutes to an hour.  The procedure was very quick & she recovered fairly quickly.  The ENT said that she would probably be more sensitive to sound for 24 hours.  It was a pain to plug her ears with vaseline/cotton ball during bath and we had to give ear drops for a week or two.  We did experience some weird-colored drainage but that's normal.  We did not have any issues.  She had 1 infection with tubes (fall 2011).

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  • DD1 had 6 ear infections in under 9 months when we got our ENT referral. A few of them took multiple rounds of antibiotics to clear up, and we were just done giving her so many meds all the time. The ENT told us she had so much fluid build up that it probably sounded like she was underwater all the time. Fortunately her hearing didn't seem to be affected, but we wanted to do something before it was, so her tubes were placed at 14 months. She's had them in for 11 months and been ear infection free the whole time. As of her 2 year check up they were still in and working well, but we see the ENT for her 1 year post op next month and see what she has to say.

    The procedure was a breeze, harder on us than on her :) Since she was so young they scheduled her for first thing in the AM so fasting wasn't a big deal. We woke her and put her right in the car in her PJ's, and she was so distracted by everything at the surgery center she didn't even notice she was hungry. The procedure took 15 minutes from the time they took her back until they told us she was awake again. She was a little groggy and out of sorts when she woke up, but not upset. We went home and she napped for 3 hours, then woke up and was running around like nothing had happened that morning. She needed drops in her ears for a few days while they healed, but no other special care. Her ENT doesn't even bother with ear plugs for baths or swimming. 

    Mama to two sweet girls
    DD1 Feb 2010
    DD2 Sept 2011


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  • This is all great info and reassuring.  Thanks! 
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