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Clinical Challenges
December 2000

Swimming With Tympanostomy Tubes

Author Affiliations

KAREN H.CALHOUNMDRONALD B.KAREN H.MDFrom the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000;126(12):1507-1508. doi:10.1001/archotol.126.12.1507

Children with tympanostomy tubes (TTs) can be permitted to swim without any increased risk of infection.

Tympanostomy tube insertion is one of the most commonly performed otolaryngologic operations. Approximately 700,000 cases are performed annually.1 Postoperative otorrhea is one of the most common complications of TT insertion. Otorrhea occurs sporadically in 20% of patients and regularly in 10%.2 Prevention of otorrhea has traditionally included the strict prevention of water penetration into the external auditory canal. This has been primarily achieved by the use of barrier methods (cotton wool, custom earplugs, ear putty, bathing caps, etc), but in some cases chemical means in the form of ototopical drops have been advocated.

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