Skip to main content

Grommet insertion (glue ear treatment)

Grommet insertion to treat glue ear allows air to enter your middle ear, preventing fluid build-up and the resulting deafness. Book online today.

What is glue ear?

Glue ear is a common condition where fluid collects in your middle ear behind your eardrum. It can cause deafness and repeated earache or infections, sometimes resulting in a discharge from your ear. Your surgeon has recommended placing a grommet (small plastic or metal tube) to treat your glue ear.

How does glue ear happen?

The eustachian tube connects your middle ear with the back of your nose. Sometimes this tube does not work properly. This causes fluid to build up in your middle ear. This collection of fluid is called glue ear.

What are the benefits of surgery?

The grommet allows air to enter your middle ear, preventing fluid build-up and the resulting deafness.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Many people with glue ear do not need surgery. The condition almost always gets better, but it is not always possible to say when this will happen. Another treatment is to wear a hearing aid until hearing improves.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic, but a local anaesthetic can be used. The operation usually takes about 20 minutes. Your surgeon will make a small hole in your eardrum and remove the fluid by suction. They will place a plastic or metal grommet in the hole.

What complications can happen?

Like all surgical procedures, there are some complications that can be serious and can even cause death. Please bear in mind the general and specific complications regarding this type of operation.

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clot in your leg
  • Blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

  • Leaking from your ear of clear fluid or fluid mixed with blood for 1 to 2 days
  • Ear discharge lasting longer than 1 to 2 days
  • Small hole left in the eardrum
  • Repeated build-up of fluid in your middle ear

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day. Do not swim for 6 weeks and then do not dive deeper than 2 metres. Other than swimming, you should be able to return to normal activities after 1 to 2 days.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice. The grommet will fall out of your ear by itself, after 6 to 18 months, depending on the material and design of the grommet.

Summary

Glue ear is a common condition that usually gets better without any surgery. Surgery is recommended when the condition lasts longer than 3 months and the hearing loss is causing problems. To find out more, call us on 0808 101 0337 or make an online enquiry. 

Acknowledgements

Author: Miss Ruth Capper MD FRCS (ORL-HNS)

Illustrator: Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com

Grommet insertion

Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic Investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Guide price
Hospital fees N/A Not included £2,675 Included £2,675
Consultants fees from £200 N/A Included Included £200
Guide price £2,875

Specialists offering Grommet insertion (glue ear treatment)

Mr Vinod Prabhu

Consultant ENT & Head & Neck Surgeon

MBBS, DLO, DOHNS (England), MRCS (Edinburgh), FRCS(ORL-HNS) Edinburgh

Werndale Hospital

View profile Book online

General Enquiries