Ear, Nose, and Throat 101 – Ear Ventilation Tubes

ear ventilation tubes
ear ventilation tubes

 

An ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician and former lieutenant commander in the US Navy, Dr. William B. Clark is the owner of ENT Associates of Northwest Florida. Dr. William B. Clark performs a full range of ENT procedures, including the placement of ear ventilation tubes.

One of the most common procedures performed by ENT physicians, ear ventilation tubes are typically used to treat chronic infections of the middle ear. When fluid becomes trapped behind the eardrum, bacteria may take advantage of the ideal growing environment and cause an infection. Left untreated, middle ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss.

The procedure itself involves a small incision in the eardrum and placement of a tube in the opening, allowing fluid to drain out. Adult tubes can be placed in office, while children generally require anesthesia. Ear infections can still occur with the tube in place, however, and treatment usually involves antibiotic ear drops rather than systemic antibiotics. Ear tubes remain in place for approximately one year, at which point they fall out on their own.

Types of Sinusitis Surgery

endoscopic sinus surgery Image: mayoclinic.org
endoscopic sinus surgery
Image: mayoclinic.org

Dr. William B. Clark leads as owner of ENT Associates of Northwest Florida. There, Dr. William B. Clark performs sinusitis surgeries and other procedures that address ear, nose, and throat conditions.

When the sinus cavity has become blocked and is failing to drain correctly, surgery may be the most effective way of opening the passages. It typically involves clearing the blockage and encouraging the draining of mucus, which in turn helps to clear infection. Traditionally, the process has required the surgeon to gain access to the sinuses via an opening through the mouth or face.

Thanks to advancements in surgical technique and equipment, however, many patients now have the option of undergoing endoscopic sinus surgery. This procedure uses a specially designed lighted metal scope, which passes through the nostril and into the sinuses. A tiny camera at the end of the scope allows the surgeon to visualize and remove blockages.

Patients who undergo any form of sinus surgery should be careful to follow all post-operative instructions. These typically include bed rest with head elevation, regular moisturizing of nasal passages, and the avoidance of exposure to upper respiratory infection.