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Treat the Root Causes
of Ear Infections

Surgery for chronic ear infections involves various procedures aimed at resolving persistent issues within the ear. Depending on the specific condition and its severity, these surgeries may target the tympanic membrane, middle ear, or mastoid bone. Common surgical procedures for recurrent ear infections include ear tubes, tympanoplasty, and mastoidectomy. Through these interventions, our surgeons aim to alleviate pain, improve hearing, and prevent recurrent infections, ultimately enhancing your overall quality of life.

Surgery for Chronic Ear Infections Treat:

  • Persistent discomfort and pain associated with chronic ear infections
  • Recurrent or ongoing infections that significantly disrupt daily life
  • Damage to the tympanic membrane (eardrum)
  • Accumulation of fluid or pus in the middle ear
  • Infection or damage spreading to the mastoid bone
  • Hearing loss or impairment resulting from chronic infection

Common Surgeries for Chronic Ear Infections

Ear Tubes

Ear tubes, also known as tympanostomy tubes or ventilation tubes, are tiny cylindrical devices inserted into the eardrum to alleviate recurring middle ear infections and fluid buildup. These tubes create a small opening that equalizes pressure, improves ventilation, and allows fluid to drain, preventing infection recurrence. Typically made of silicone or plastic, they are temporary and often fall out on their own after several months to a few years. Ear tubes are commonly recommended for children prone to recurrent episodes.

Tympanoplasty

Tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to repair a perforated eardrum or restore hearing loss caused by damage to the middle ear structures. During tympanoplasty, a surgeon grafts tissue onto the perforated eardrum or reconstructs the ossicles (small bones) if damaged. This procedure aims to restore the integrity of the eardrum, improve hearing, and prevent infections. Tympanoplasty may be recommended for individuals with chronic ear infections, traumatic eardrum perforations, or hearing loss resulting from middle ear damage.

Mastoidectomy

Mastoidectomy removes infected or damaged tissue from the mastoid bone behind the ear. Typically performed to treat complications of chronic ear infections, such as mastoiditis, this procedure aims to eliminate infection, prevent its spread, and preserve hearing. The surgeon accesses the mastoid bone through an incision behind the ear and removes infected tissue while preserving important structures like the facial nerve. Mastoidectomy is crucial in managing severe or recurrent infections that have spread to the mastoid bone.

Surgery for Chronic Ear Infections FAQs

How do I know if I need surgery for my chronic ear infections?

If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms despite medical treatment, such as recurrent ear pain, drainage, or hearing loss, surgery may be considered. Your ENT specialist will evaluate your medical history, perform a thorough examination, and conduct diagnostic tests to determine the extent of your condition. Surgery is typically recommended for individuals with chronic infections who haven’t responded to conservative treatments.

Will I need to take time off work or school after surgery?

The amount of time needed off work or school after surgery for chronic ear infections depends on the type of procedure performed and individual factors. Generally, you may need to take at least a few days to a week off to rest and allow your body to heal. Your doctor will provide specific recommendations based on your condition and the extent of surgery.

What are my recovery guidelines after surgery for chronic ear infections?

After surgery for chronic ear infections, it’s crucial to follow your doctor’s recovery guidelines to promote healing. These may include keeping the ear dry, avoiding strenuous activities, and refraining from blowing your nose forcefully. Your doctor may also recommend using ear drops or antibiotics to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. Furthermore, you must attend all scheduled follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and address any concerns.

What are the risks associated with surgery for chronic ear infections?

While surgery for chronic ear infections is generally safe, like any surgical procedure, it carries certain risks. These may include infection, bleeding, anesthesia-related complications, damage to surrounding structures, or recurrence of the infection. Your ENT specialist will discuss the potential risks of surgery with you and take steps to prevent any complications.

What can I do to prepare for surgery for chronic ear infections?

To prepare for surgery for chronic ear infections, you must follow your doctor’s pre-operative instructions carefully. This may include undergoing pre-operative tests, discontinuing certain medications or supplements that could increase the risk of bleeding, and fasting before surgery. You should also arrange for someone to accompany you to the hospital on the day of surgery and help you with transportation and support during the recovery period.

Are surgeries for chronic ear infections performed under general anesthesia?

Yes, surgeries for chronic ear infections are typically performed under general anesthesia. This ensures you remain unconscious throughout the procedure, allows the surgical team to work without interruption, and ensures your safety.

What should I expect during the recovery period after surgery?

Immediately after surgery, you may experience some discomfort, mild pain, or temporary changes in hearing. Your doctor will provide instructions on caring for your ear, including keeping it dry and avoiding activities that could increase pressure or cause trauma to the ear.

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Your Consultation

Alaska Facial Plastic Surgery and ENT is the sole practice in Alaska where our physicians have completed three combined fellowships: facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, advanced head and neck oncology, and rhinology/skullbase surgery. As an elite team of experts, we collaborate closely to guarantee optimal outcomes for our patients. If chronic ear infections are impacting your quality of life, schedule a consultation with us today to explore your options for surgery and embark on the path to improved ear health and well-being.

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