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These instructions are to help you know what to expect and answer common questions that people have after tympanostomy, also known as ear tube placement. Most of the questions people have are answered below but if you have other questions please contact us at the numbers below. 

Physical Activity  

Most patients go home shortly after the procedure. Because your child has received a general anesthetic it is not uncommon for them to be a little tired or off balance for the rest of the day. They should remain under close adult supervision and be allowed to rest the day of the procedure. There is no other restriction on activity.  

Post-Operative Care 

It is common to have a little clear yellow drainage for a day or two after the surgery and you may even see a little blood. This is normal and should quickly get better. You’ve been given antibiotic ear drops to use to prevent any bacterial infection after surgery. If you run out of drops a day or so before the end of the instructed course that’s ok. Usually you’re instructed to use 4 drops twice a day for 5 days, but if your surgeon has given you other instructions follow those. 

The opening of the tubes placed in your child’s ears are small enough that it’s tough for water to get through. Surface swimming in clean pools typically doesn’t require ear plugs. Soapy water can get through the openings easier so during bath time you should try to avoid pouring water directly in the ears or submerging the head all the way under water. If a little water splashes in the ears, there is no harm. 

If you notice foul smelling or thick drainage coming out of the ears call us at the clinic and we will arrange for follow up or call in a prescription for antibiotic drops.  If you have antibiotic ear drops at home, you may begin using those for 7 days. 


In the recovery room you’ll typically be given some clear liquid or a popsicle just in case your child has some nausea after the anesthetic. Once you’re home there is no restriction on diet after ear tube placement. 


Any pain after the procedure is usually quite mild and can be managed easily with Motrin/Ibuprofen or Tylenol. 

Follow up 

You should have an appointment for a check of the tubes a few weeks after the procedure. If you don’t know when your appointment is scheduled, please call us and we can check on it for you.