Ear Tubes (Ventilation Tubes)

Ear Tubes (Ventilation Tubes)

The middle ear is an air-filled chamber containing the auditory ossicles. This chamber is connected to the nasal cavity by a tube called the Eustachian tube, and the middle ear is ventilated by the Eustachian tube.

When the function of the Eustachian tube is disturbed for various reasons, the tympanic membrane may collapse by creating a negative pressure in the middle ear. The negative pressure can lead to fluid accumulation in the middle ear by sucking the fluid in the cells into the middle ear cavity, leading to recurrent middle ear infections and eventually hearing loss. In addition, due to long-term dysfunction of the Eustachian tube and progressive collapse of the tympanic membrane, the tympanic membrane may adhere to the ossicles in the middle ear and to the jugular wall, resulting in a severe middle ear disease called adhesive otitis. Eustachian tube ventilation may be impaired in patients with extremely large adenoid tissue.

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When the functioning of the Eustachian tube cannot be achieved with drug treatments, a hole in the eardrum from the outside is made to prevent or treat the problems in the middle ear. The goal is to allow the fluid inside the tympanic membrane to drain and prevent disease from developing in the tympanic membrane by equalizing the pressure. If the hole is left open for a long period of time, the damaged cells in the middle ear cavity heal and the functions of the Eustachian tube improve. For this purpose, a small tube called a “ventilation tube” is inserted into the opened hole. There are different types of these tubes, some fall off by themselves, others only when removed by a doctor. Their selection is made by the doctor depending on the shape, duration and severity of the disease. The tubes are placed under a microscope. While the tubes are being placed, adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy may also be performed, depending on the patient’s condition and the disease.

For patients who have a tube, it is important to protect their ears from water because the middle ear is a sterile, germ-free space. If unsterile water from outside enters this area, it will cause severe ear infections and discharge.

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