What Is It ?
There are a number of healthcare services throughout the country that can provide this procedure privately.
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The grommet in your ear drum has done its job. There is no more fluid behind the ear drum in the middle ear. Your ear is now healthy again.
Most grommets come out on their own. Some grommets, like yours, are slow to come out. It needs to be taken out with a little operation.
Before the Operation
Your child must have nothing to eat or drink for about six hours before the operation (clear fluids and water up to 2 hours before, breast milk 4 hrs). Your child’s stomach needs to be empty so that the anaesthetic can be administered safely. If your child has a cold in the week before admission to the hospital, please telephone the ward and let the ward sister know. The operation will usually need to be put off. Your child has to get over the cold before the operation can be done because by having an anaesthetic the cold could turn into a serious infection in the chest.
Sort out any tablets, medicines, inhalers that your child is using. Keep them in their original boxes and packets. Bring them to the hospital with you. On the ward, your child may be checked for past illnesses and may have special tests to make sure that he or she is well prepared and can have the operation as safely as possible. Please tell the doctors and nurses of any allergies to tablets, medicines or dressings. You and your child will have the operation explained to you and you will be asked to fill in an operation consent form. Many hospitals now run special preadmission clinics, where you and your child visit for an hour or two, a week or so before the operation for these checks.
You have a short general anaesthetic and are completely asleep.
The surgeon will shine a very fine microscope into your ear tube. He will pull the grommet out of the ear drum with a special instrument.
Because you are asleep you will not feel any pain during the operation. Your operation can be done as a day case. This means that you come into hospital on the day of your operation and go home the same day.
When the grommet is out, there is a small hole left in the ear drum. This will usually close up on its own. The surgeon will check your ear drum in the outpatient clinic, to make sure that it has done this.
After – at home
After three to four hours on the ward, your child should feel fit enough to go home. The doctors will check that your child’s ear is comfortable and is not bleeding. It is important that your child still keeps the ear dry. Any water in the ear may go through the hole in the ear drum and cause an infection. Plug the ear with a piece of cotton wool rubbed in Vaseline at bath times, or when washing your child’s hair. He or she should not go swimming unless the ear is properly protected with ear plugs and a tight bathing cap. Use a painkiller such as paracetamol suspension every six hours to control any pain in the ear.
How Is Grommet Removal Done ?
Grommet removal requires a general anesthetic . Healthcare professionals sedate the patient and shine a microscope through the ear to pull out the grommet, using special instruments. Following grommet removal, the small hole in the ear drum usually closes up on its own. Patients are usually discharged on the same day, although healthcare professionals will check the ear after six weeks to ensure closure of the wound.
What are the Potential Risks ?
There are very few complications of the surgery :
Infection : Grommets may cause more frequent ear infections. About 10% of patients will get intermittent symptoms (normally associated with having a cold), 1% will have significant enough symptoms to require the removal of the grommet.
Perforation : most grommets will fall out on their own after nine to eighteen months. When they do, the ear drum heals up after them, but they may leave a small hole in the ear drum which may need to be fixed. 2 – 3% of patients will develop this complication.