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Dr. Edgar Lueg, MD, FACS, FRCSC
Ventura's only Board-Certified Head & Neck Surgeon
with Advanced Fellowship Training

Recurrent Ear Infections

The"EustacianTube" is a cartilage lined tube that connects the airspace behind the eardrum("Middle Ear Space") with the back of the throat behind the nose ("Nasopharynx").  The Eustacian Tube prevents fluid from building up and infections ("Acute Otitis Media") from occurring.  However, the cartilage in young children is softer until the age of 7 or 8 years old. In some cases this prevents the Eustacian Tube from draining the Middle Ear Space properly ("Eustacian Tube Dysfunction") leading to frequently recurrent infections and/or retained fluid.  This can lead to multiple doctor visits and rounds of antibiotics as well as possible hearing loss and delayed speech development. 

Generally, if infections occur 3 or more times in the past 6 months your pediatrician may recommend your child see an ENT Specialist about making an incision in the eardrum ("Myringotomy") and placing a small soft plastic tube ("Middle Ear Ventilating Tube") through the eardrum that drains the middle ear fluid and prevents further infections. 

These tubes basically bypass the function of the Eustacian Tube and are placed while the child is asleep under anesthesia for a few minutes in the operating room.  They typically fall out on their own after 6-12 months and the eardrum heals spontaneously.  Sometimes, if ear infections occur again, the tubes are replaced.  


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