Grommets are small teflon tubes (shown opposite) placed through the tympanic membrane in order to temporarily ventilate the middle ear. They can be placed under general anaesthesia (usual procedure) or local anaesthesia. They usually stay in place for approximately 9 months before extruding spontaneously. The process of making a hole in the drum is called a myringotomy, and is done so with a specialised knife called a myringotome. Most grommets are inserted into the anterior inferior aspect of the ear drum to avoid damage to surrounding structures.
Persistent glue ear, recurrent episodes of acute otitis media, Ménière’s disease.
Risks of hospital admission, anaesthesia, residual tympanic membrane perforation (2-3%), persistent ear discharge, recurrent ear infection (10% of patients) with 1% needing grommet removal, recurrence of disease (20% of patients with glue ear).
Left-sided Grommet, antero-inferior quadrant