What is the role of myringotomy with pressure equalization tube (PET) insertion in the treatment of otitis media with effusion (OME)?

Updated: Apr 06, 2020
  • Author: Thomas S Higgins, Jr, MD, MSPH; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Introduced in 1954 by Armstrong, this intervention has become the criterion standard and most common therapy for chronic otitis media with effusion (COME). Improved hearing and decreased rates of acute otitis media (AOM) are absolute benefits of myringotomy with placement of pressure equalization tubes; these have been documented multiple times. Typically, the tubes self-extrude 9-12 months after placement.

Pressure equalization tubes are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. All are designed to permit ventilation of the middle ear and mastoid system. Prolonged aeration of the middle ear has been shown to reverse the mucosal hyperplasia and metaplasia that accompany otitis media with effusion.

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