How Can an ENT Help My Child’s Recurrent Ear Infections?
Jun 05, 2019 19:10
If there’s one truth about children, it’s that they are often prone to illness. Whether from an older sibling in school or from their exposure to other children on the playground, children are quite often spiking fevers and complaining about ear infections. Many small children will need to visit with their doctor for an ear infection within the first few years of their lives.
Ear infections can certainly strike any person of any age, but they are seen quite frequently in young children. Also referred to as otitis media, an ear infection occurs when bacteria make their way into the middle ear. This results in inflammation and infection. The bacteria typically enter through the part of the ear known as the Eustachian tube. In children this tube is much smaller, which means that it is much more prone to becoming plugged an infected.
Visiting an ENT can help in reducing the number of ear infections that your child is struggling with.
Grommet insertion surgery
When a child has frequent ear infections, several times a year, they may benefit from the surgical insertion of grommets. The grommet is a small plastic tube that is surgically placed into the middle ear by an ENT.
These tubes help to relieve the pressure placed on the ear and also allow fluid in the ears to flow and drain. This can result in fewer ear infections, and in a much happier child. As the child grows, the tubes will fall out on their own and will no longer be needed.
What to expect during surgery?
According to an ENT specialist in Adelaide, One Face Clinic, the surgery itself will take just a few minutes. The child will be placed under a general anaesthetic. The ENT surgeon will make a small incision in the eardrum to drain out any excess fluid that may be present. The grommet tubes will then be fit inside of the small incision.
This surgical procedure is typically a day surgery and no overnight stay in the hospital is required.
Benefits of grommet insertion surgery
Certainly there’s a huge benefit to be seen with just the reduction of the number of ear infections a child experiences. There are several other benefits to be had, related to the development of the child.
•If the child’s hearing was impacted by the chronic fluid in the ear, grommets can help to restore normal hearing.
•The removal of excess ear fluid can help to restore the normal development of speech.
•Balance can be improved, as the inner ear contributes to balance.
•The prevention of permanent damage to the child’s hearing is possible.
Are there any risks to grommet insertion surgery?
Any procedure, whether surgical or not, carries with it some risks. There are very minimal risks associated with this surgery. They could include the following.
•The tubes can reduce the risk of recurring ear infections but may not completely eliminate them.
•The tubes may fall out too soon and will need to be replaced.
•In rare cases tubes can fall back into the middle ear and will need to be surgically removed.
•Tubes may lead to scars on the eardrum.
There are far more benefits to be seen with grommet insertion surgery than there are potential risks and concerns. Discussing your concerns with your child’s GP can help you to get a referral to an ENT. Ear infections can be miserable for a child. Grommets can help to restore a sense of normalcy for your child.
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