Ear, nose and throat questions

My child had grommets inserted recently - now blood is coming out of the ear. What should I do?

Bleeding from the ear usually implies infection from around the grommet tube site. The blood rises from tissue (granulation tissue) which is one of the body's processes to combat infection and foreign bodies. The grommets are inert foreign bodies, but if they become infected, they promote the surrounding tissue to produce this granulation tissue which will usually bleed. The treatment for this is topical drops - Chloramphenicol eye drops into the ear or Ciprofloxacin hydrocortisone.

What does it mean when the doctor says my child has a perforated eardrum? Should I be concerned?

A perforated eardrum means that there is a small hole in the eardrum. A grommet tube maintains a small hole in the eardrum so that air can pass freely into the middle ear to allow the middle ear membrane to function normally.

However, when a grommet extrudes, there is a very small chance that a small perforation will remain. This is at times related to the scar tissue in its edges. Approximately 50% of these perforations will heal spontaneously.

If the perforation is large, this may indicate that a severe infection has occurred at some stage in the eardrum and the layers of the eardrum have been damaged. In children, sometimes these perforations will heal, but often they may require a repair (term - tympanoplasty or myringoplasty). This is not usually performed until the ENT specialist is sure that the child is not going to have any further ear infections.

My child was born with a cleft palate. His speech is good but it is very hoarse. Should I see an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, or should I get an appointment at the Cleft Palate Clinic?

A hoarse voice in a child with a cleft palate is unusual and is not frequently seen at the Cleft Palate Clinic. Therefore, an ENT specialist should assess your child and the Cleft Palate Clinic notified. An ENT member of the Cleft Palate Clinic may be available to assess your child if another associated appointment has been arranged there.

What is a septoplasty for? What does the surgeon do when he does a septoplasty?

A septoplasty is a correction of the midline partition of the nasal cavity. The septum is straightened when it is believed that deformity of this partition is causing significant obstruction to your child's airway - not being able to breathe through his/her nose or more rarely, develops prolonged infective symptoms whenever they develop a cold, suggesting that an underlying sinusitis may be occurring.

The septoplasty can be performed at any age. However, this does need to be discussed with all members of the Cleft Palate Team.

I live a long way from the hospital, can I see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist near where I live?

If your child has ear, nose and throat problem, it is worth discussing this with your local GP and asking him/her to refer you to a local ENT specialist. The records of your child at the Cleft Palate Clinic are always available to your local GP or specialist, if any information is required.

If any surgery is recommended by the local ENT specialist, it is always worthwhile for the specialist to check with the Cleft Palate Clinic (he/she may be unaware that other surgical procedures are being considered) to enable the procedures to be coordinated.

Last updated Saturday 28th October 2023