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Is ear drainage or inserting an ear tube better for drainage of ear fluid?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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Ever since flying back in September I have had fluid in my left ear. I have had the ear drained 2 times. Each time the pressure is relieved and my hearing returns to almost normal. The MD is suggesting inserting a tube. As I understand this will allow the pressure to be normalized so as to not hold fluid. Is there any advantage in continuing to drain the ear and hope that the ear returns to normal or just have the surgery to insert the tube? It is assumed that the problem is being produced by continual drainage from allergies.
Posted Mon, 23 Dec 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Prahlad Duggal 24 minutes later
Brief Answer: Better to go for tube insertion Detailed Answer: Hi, Thanks for the query. I suppose your ears are cleared of the fluid (drained) by making an incision (myringotomy) by the ENT. It is indicated that in patients having recurrent effusions of middle ear, the insertion of tubes (grommets) give a better chances of preventing the recurrences. When fluid is drained from the ear, it is hoped that the mucosal lining of the middle ear will return to normal and cilliary function becomes normal. But many a times this cilliary function does not become normal. This may contribute to the poor functioning of the Eustachian tube and makes on prone to re-effusion. Insertion of grommet makes a way for better ventilation of the middle ear and thus promotes a better cilliary function and thus is a better option. Also the procedure involved id not much bigger from the one involved in myringotomy and takes a few minute more. So, my advice is, go ahead with tube insertion. Usually it does not have any majr complication. Also please get a complete ENT examination done to rule out any focus in nose which can lead to a poor Eustachian tube function. Wish you good health. Regards
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Follow-up: Is ear drainage or inserting an ear tube better for drainage of ear fluid? 27 minutes later
Thank you so much for the quick reply. Is it reasonable to expect that treatments for allergies would improve the mucosal lining in the inner ear sufficiently to negate the need for tube surgery? I have an appointment next week with an allergist to determine if some treatment would be helpful.
Answered by Dr. Prahlad Duggal 8 hours later
Brief Answer: may or may not Detailed Answer: Thanks for your query. Allergy treatment usually does not remove the allergies, it only tells you about a specific allergen if any and the possibility of avoiding it. Also routine treatment of allergy blocks the biochemical pathways of allergy. So, the chances of body mucosal linings become exposed to allergens remain as well as there reaction to that particular allergen, though it will be somewhat suppressed with treatment. Immunotherapy if used by your doctor after evaluating you for that can increase the fighting power of the body to allergy and can decrease episodes but the response is not predictable. Anyway, going for allergy treatment is not going to harm in any case and may improve things. So go ahead with it. But still there can be a need for tube insertion. In case the effusion recurs, you can comfortably go for tubes. Mind it even after tubes, the possibility of re-effusion does not go all together, it only decreases the frequency. So always beneficial to treat the cause. Feel free to ask another query. Regards
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