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.