Ventilation tubes

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Standard ventilation tubes made of Teflon (left) and T-ventilation tubes made of silicone

A ventilation tube is used for medium to long-term ventilation of the middle ear - among other things after suction ( drainage ) of a tympanic effusion . It is inserted into the eardrum . Before this, the eardrum must be opened with a paracentesis . In children, the procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia ; in adults, the ear can be anesthetized locally . A standard ventilation tube ("collar button") has an opening diameter of 1 to 1.5 mm and is usually rejected spontaneously or removed by the doctor after about 9-12 months. If a longer stay is desired, a T-ear tube ("permanent ear tube") is used. In children, the procedure is usually combined with an adenotomy (removal of the tonsils ), in many cases also with removal of the tonsils ( tonsillectomy ) or their partial removal ( tonsillotomy ) in small children .


Drum tubes made of metal, next to it a coffee bean as a measure of size.  Photographed on a squared sheet of paper, also as a measure of size (edge ​​length of the squares 5 mm).
Drum tubes made of metal, next to it a coffee bean as a measure of size

Patients who wear a ventilation tube or T-tube are particularly at risk when handling water. If cold water enters the middle ear through the passage, acute dizziness can occur. This can lead to life-threatening situations in the swimming pool. Furthermore, microorganisms get into the middle ear with the water and can cause inflammation there .

To prevent water from entering the middle ear, the ear canal is closed with a plug or cotton wool with Vaseline . In order to achieve even better protection, it is recommended to wear a waterproof bathing cap when bathing or swimming . As a first measure, if water has entered the middle ear, the patient can lie on his side while holding the affected ear down. A doctor should then be consulted.


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