WHAT IS GROMMET INSERTION?
Grommet insertion involves placing a small plastic ventilation tube through the ear drum, allowing the drainage of any fluid and equalising the pressure between the middle ear and the outside world. Grommets are very small - typically around 2mm in diameter and 2.5mm in length. The procedure is most commonly performed for glue ear (otitis media with effusion). Other less frequent indications include Eustachian tube dysfunction and Meniere's disease.
WHAT IS INVOLVED?
In adults, grommet insertion can be performed under local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic. In children, however, it is always performed under general anaesthetic. A small incision is made in the ear drum and any fluid in the middle ear is removed using micro suction. A grommet is then inserted through the incision.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTERWARDS?
Grommets usually stay in place for around 9 months, at which point they are naturally extruded. During the time that grommets remain in place, it is important to keep the ears dry. Swimming is allowed, but jumping/diving into water and submerging the head should be avoided. A hearing test will be performed around 6 weeks after surgery.
Further information on glue ear and grommet insertion from ENT UK is available here.