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An ear infection is caused by bacteria or a virus that affects the outer or, more often, the middle ear. More commonly affecting children, it can also affect adults and commonly causes an earache due to inflammation and fluid buildup. It may resolve on its own, or require antibiotics.

What is the treatment for an ear infection?

An ear infection is typically caused by the blockage of a Eustachian tube, which is a canal that connects the upper throat to the back of nasal cavity. It equalizes the pressure in the middle ear with the pressure outside the body. A blocked Eustachian tube causes an accumulation of fluid in the middle ear.

This may be treated by a myringotomy, or the creation of a small hole in the eardrum, often accompanied by the surgical insertion of a pressure equalization (PE) tube which allows for drainage of the excess fluid. If the infection is bacterial, an antibiotic may be prescribed.

Ear Infections

Is the treatment different for children than it is for adults?

For adult pain relief and fever reduction, acetaminophen is often recommended. Children should not be given aspirin, as there is the risk of a rare condition called Reye’s syndrome, which can cause swelling of the brain or liver. The surgical treatment options for adults are the same as for children.

Am I or my child a candidate for surgical treatment of an ear infection?

A myringotomy takes only a few minutes, and the insertion of a PE tube is a relatively simple three-step process that takes about 15 minutes on an outpatient basis. The combined surgeries are typically performed in a hospital for a child and in an ENT clinic, such as the Meuller Surgery Center, for an adult. Provided you or your child are in otherwise good health, you are both candidates for surgical treatment for ear infections.

Why choose Dr. Leeman for the treatment of an ear infection?

More than a cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Leeman is a double board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He has been serving the Austin area for more than 20 years and is highly respected in his field.

In tandem with Doctor of Audiology Bea Smith, he has successfully diagnosed and treated many such cases, as well as other hearing problems requiring far more complex surgical interventions.

What is the Mueller Surgery Center?

The Meuller Surgical Center well reflects Dr. Leeman’s commitment to providing excellence in caring for all his patients. It is a state-of-the-art facility, with the latest diagnostic testing and imaging equipment onsite, which rules out waiting for test results and allows for the quickest possible treatment planning and implementation.

This is vital under most circumstances, since early diagnosis and treatment of any condition prevents it from becoming worse. It is especially important in the case of ear infections. Any infection, anywhere in the body, can spread and cause other health problems. While some will clear up on their own or with just antibiotics, if they are serious enough to warrant surgical intervention, they should be treated quickly.

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