A myringotomy is a procedure to put a hole in the ear drum. This is done so that fluid trapped in the middle ear can drain out. The fluid may be blood, pus, and/or water. In many cases, a small tube is inserted into the hole in the ear drum. The tube helps to maintain drainage. This surgery is most often done on children, but is sometimes done on adults.
A myringotomy may be done:
- To help treat an ear infection that is not responding to medical treatment
- To restore hearing loss caused by fluid build-up and to prevent delayed speech development caused by hearing loss in children
- To take sample fluid from the middle ear to examine in the lab for the presence of bacteria or other infections
- To place tympanostomy tubes—These tubes help to equalize pressure. It may also help prevent recurrent ear infections and the accumulation of fluid behind the ear drum.
After the procedure, pain and/or pressure in the ear due to fluid build-up should be alleviated. Hearing loss due to fluid build-up should improve as well.
Last reviewedSeptember 2012by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.