Christopher Thomson F.R.A.C.S
Ear, Nose and Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery
Phone: +64 (03) 356 0274
Home > Resources > Grommets Advice Sheet

Patient Information on Grommets

Grommets (Ventilation Tubes)

Sometimes your child will be prescribed eardrops (usually Sofradex) to take for a few days after surgery particularly if there has been some bleeding from the eardrum or if the middle ear fluid is very thick or infected. The use of drops will help prevent blockage of the tube in the early postoperative period and minimize risks of infection.

Most children are able to be discharged within an hour of surgery. Generally their level of discomfort is minimal requiring only one or two doses of paracetamol postoperatively. Children should be able to resume normal activities the following day but should avoid getting water in their ears for the first week after surgery. If there have been no problems with ear discharge over this time then they should be able to swim in the sea or chlorinated pools, submerge their head in the bath or wash their hair in the shower without any risk of fluid getting into their ears through the small hole at the centre of the grommet. Some children will develop ear discomfort and discharge on water exposure. For these children wearing of earplugs supplied from your local chemist may be helpful.

Children who have grommets in place may then develop spontaneous discharge from their ears from time to time. If your child is otherwise well I advise observation alone for 48 hours. Most of the time the discharge will spontaneously settle. If it fails to do so then a course of local eardrops with or without oral antibiotics should resolve matters. If there is persistent discharge following this please contact me for cleaning of ears in the rooms.

There is a small risk of developing a persistent perforation of the eardrum after the tube has come out (1-2%). Eventually many of these perforations heal and, of those that do not, many are asymptomatic and don’t require active treatment. Should they prove troublesome, the hole can be patched when the child is older.

Please contact my rooms on discharge from hospital, to arrange a check of your children’s ears about one month after surgery. After the initial postoperative review, your child will be reviewed at 6-9 monthly intervals until the tubes have extruded. In most cases children have no further problems but some require repeated insertion of tubes until such time as they have grown out of their middle ear problems.

If there are any significant postoperative problems please contact me.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with stylesheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so. The latest version of Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer will work best if you're after a new browser.