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Caring for Your Child After Myringotomy and Tube Placement

What to Do After Surgery

  1. Your child can take part in normal activity when able. If in daycare, your child may return the day after the procedure.

  2. Diet: Your child may have an upset stomach from the anesthesia. Start with clear liquids and move to solid food as the stomach feels better. If your child has nausea or vomiting, start over with clear liquids and move slowly.

  3. It is common for children to have slight drainage from the ear for 1 to 3 days after surgery. The drainage may be bloody, clear, or pus-like.

  4. Ear drops are prescribed to be given 3 times a day for 3 days. Hold the bottle under warm tap water before giving ear drops. This may make the drops more comfortable for your child. 

  5. Give Children’s Tylenol® (acetaminophen) for pain relief or fever. Follow the directions on the package.

  6. Ear plugs are not needed for most children with tympanoplasty tubes. There are some situations where your provider may recommend use of ear plugs. For example, if your child has ear pain or drainage after swimming. 


Your child will be scheduled for a post-op follow-up visit at the Pediatric ENT Clinic 1-3 months after surgery.

When to Call Your Child’s Doctor or Clinic Nurse

Call one of the phone numbers below if your child has these symptoms in the post-op period:

  • Constant nausea or vomiting,

  • Fever over 102° F regardless of the method used to take a temperature,

  • Ear discomfort lasting more than 3 days,

  • Ear drainage that continues after the post-op ear drops stop,

  • If you think that your child is not recovering as expected.

Tube Maintenance

It is normal for ears to drain from time to time while tubes are in place. This drainage tells us there is fluid in the middle ear space. This could cause infection if not treated. The drainage may be clear, yellow, white, green or bloody.

Call the clinic number listed on the next page to report that your child’s ear(s) have drainage. Nursing staff will start the process for your child to take healing ear drops. You will be given specific directions on how to give the ear drops.

Once you have the ear drop medicine, you may treat your child’s ear drainage. Call the clinic if the drainage does not stop within the time frame given.

Phone Numbers

Pediatric Otolaryngology Clinic 

(608) 265-7760, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

After Hours and Weekends

This number will give you the paging operator. Ask for the Otolaryngology (ENT) doctor on call. Give the operator your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.

If outside of Madison, call toll-free at: 1-800-323-8942.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.