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One Ear Tube Surgery Often Not Enough for Kids

Second operation common for 20 percent of patients, study finds

MONDAY, March 17, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- One in five children who get ear tube surgery to treat chronic ear infections may require a second surgery within two to five years.

That's the conclusion of a report in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

Dr. Mark Boston and his colleagues at Eastern Virginia Medical School studied 2,121 children who received a set of bilateral myringotomy tubes (BMTs) between April 20, 1995, and May 25, 1998.

BMTs are tubes inserted through the eardrum that let excess ear fluid drain in children with otitis media.

The researchers found that 423 (19.9 percent) of the children required a second set of BMTs by May 25, 2000. Children 18 months or younger at the time of their first BMT placement were much more likely (26.3 percent versus 15.9 percent) to require a second BMT placement than children who were older than 18 months at the time of the initial BMT placement.

The chance of requiring a second BMT placement was less if a child's adenoids were removed during the first surgery.

Facial deformities and a family history of removal of the adenoids or tonsils with or without BMTs were independent risk factors for requiring a second BMT.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about ear infections.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, March 17, 2003
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