Ear puncture, also known as myringotomy, is a medical procedure used to relieve pressure or drain fluid from the middle ear. It involves making a small incision in the eardrum to allow fluid to drain out of the ear.
The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting, and is usually recommended for individuals with recurrent ear infections or chronic fluid buildup in the middle ear. It is also commonly performed in young children who are prone to frequent ear infections.
During the procedure, the patient is positioned on their back, and a small incision is made in the eardrum using a special instrument called a myringotomy knife. Any fluid or pus that has accumulated in the middle ear is then drained out through the incision. A small tube, called a tympanostomy tube, may also be inserted into the incision to keep it open and allow for continued drainage.
Ear puncture is generally a safe and effective procedure, but as with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications. Some of these may include bleeding, infection, hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and a perforated eardrum.
After the procedure, patients may experience some discomfort or mild pain, which can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. Ear drops may also be prescribed to prevent infection and promote healing.
Tympanostomy tubes are typically left in place for several months to allow for continued drainage, and will eventually fall out on their own. In some cases, they may need to be removed by a healthcare provider.
Overall, ear puncture is a relatively minor procedure that can help relieve symptoms and prevent complications associated with middle ear fluid buildup. If you are experiencing recurrent ear infections or chronic fluid buildup, speak with your healthcare provider to determine if ear puncture may be a suitable treatment option for you.