Delayed onset post-tympanotomy otorrhea

George A. Gates, Christine Avery, Thomas J. Prihoda, G. Richard Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Otorrhea is the most frequent complication of the use of tympanostomy tubes. When it occurs after the immediate postoperative period, otorrhea is probably the result of external contamination of the middle ear or acute otitis media. We analyzed data from 627 operations upon 1248 ears of 491 children with chronic secretory otitis media and found that delayed onset (longer than 7 weeks) postoperative otorrhea occurred after 26.4 percent of the 382 operations in which tympanostomy tubes were used. The average number of episodes of otorrhea per case was 1.46 and ranged from 1 to 9. The rate of otorrhea occurrence in patients with tubes in place was significantly higher in the summer months. Otorrhea also occurred after 9.0 percent of 245 myringotomy procedures. The average number of episodes was 1.32 and ranged from 1 to 3. Treatment of postoperative otorrhea increases the health care costs of surgical treatment of chronic otitis media with effusion; this problem should be included in the calculation of cost-effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-115
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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