Office ear tube placement or office tympanostomy tube placement is often referred to as a BMT or bilateral myringotomy and tube placement.
If a patient has multiple ear infections over several months, fluid that persists behind the eardrum for 3 months or longer, or hearing loss caused by persistent middle ear fluid, their otolaryngologist may discuss and recommend pressure-equalization tubes, commonly known as “ear tubes.”
Office Tympanostomy Tube Placement
Ear tubes are performed in a short surgical procedure called “myringotomy and ear tubes”. A small incision is made in the eardrum and any middle ear fluid, which is present, is suctioned out, and the tube is placed into the eardrum. Through the ear tube, ear drops can be applied to cure the middle ear inflammation and avoid exposure to additional oral antibiotics. The ear tubes will usually fall out after a period of time, and the eardrum heals.
This procedure can be performed both in the office under local anesthesia and in the operating room under general anesthesia. Most adults and older children can tolerate the procedure in the office under local anesthesia by numbing the ear canal and the eardrum. However, multiple factors determine whether or not a patient is a candidate for this procedure to be done in the office, and it is best to discuss this with your surgeon during your office visit. This can be applied to appropriately select pediatric patients and is supported by the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.