Sussex ENT: Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust
Worthing and Southlands Hospital


This is one of the most common operations performed in this country and indeed one of the commonest performed on children. The usual reason for this operation is glue ear causing impaired hearing and/or recurrent infections (ie.acute otitis media). In children the operation is performed under general anaesthetic but in adults it can be performed under local anaesthetic. After the incision has been made in the eardrum the fluid is usually sucked out and the small plastic grommet is inserted through the hole so that one flange lies on either side of the eardrum.

Risks and complications are rare but occasionally the grommet will become infected. If this is the case the infection can usually be treated by a combination of antibiotics by mouth or in the ear. Rarely it is necessary to remove the grommet. However, repeated grommet insertion is associated with some scarring of the eardrum. In persistent cases of glue ear it is occasionally advisable to insert a long-term grommet, (T tube). This has similar complications to the ordinary grommet although they may occur slightly more frequently. Another complication is a persistent perforation of the eardrum once the grommet has fallen out. Post operative care

Grommet in situ

A shah grommet next to a one pence coin


A Grommet in situe

A Shah grommet