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Tympanostomy Tubes

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Key Points Figure 2. (A) Size of tympanostomy tube compared to a dime, (B) Tympanostomy tube Î Insertion of tympanostomy tubes is the most common ambulatory surgery performed on children in the United States. Each year, 667,000 children younger than 15 years receive tympanostomy tubes. By the age of 3 years, nearly 1 in 15 children (6.8%) will have tubes inserted. Î Tympanostomy tubes are most often inserted because of persistent middle ear fluid, frequent ear infections, or ear infections that persist after antibiotic therapy. Î Children <7 years are at increased risk of otitis media because of their immature immune systems and poor function of the eustachian tube. Î Attendance at day care more than doubles the risk. Figure 1. Ear Tubes X, Eustachian tube. Reproduced with permission: Rosenfeld RM. A Parent's Guide to Ear Tubes. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: BC Decker; 2005. Table 1. Abbreviations and Definitions of Common Terms Term Definition Myringotomy A surgical procedure in which an incision is made in the tympanic membrane for the purpose of draining fluid or providing short-term ventilation Tympanostomy tube insertion Surgical placement of a tube through a myringotomy incision for purposes of temporary middle ear ventilation. Tympanostomy tubes generally last several months to several years, depending on tube design and placement location in the tympanic membrane. Synonyms include ventilation tubes, pressure equalization tubes, grommets (United Kingdom), and bilateral myringotomy and tubes Otitis media with effusion (OME) e presence of fluid in the middle ear without signs or symptoms of acute ear infection Chronic OME OME persisting for 3 months or longer from the date of onset (if known) or from the date of diagnosis (if onset unknown)

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