Curing Ear Infections
by Rabindra A. Braganza, MD, FACS
Chronic or recurrent illness in a child can affect the entire family. Recurrent ear infections are common in young children especially if they attend daycare or preschool.
A child waking up in the middle of the night screaming in pain can impact everyone in the household. Parents will often endure a sleepless night consoling a child before seeking medical care.
Sometimes after just one ear infection fluid can persist behind the eardrum in the middle ear for months, even after treatment, and can affect the hearing and speech acquisition of the child. Fortunately most ear infections respond to antibiotics. However, antibiotics can have side effects such as stomach upset or diarrhea and frequent use of them inevitably leads to resistance to their effectiveness.
Therefore if a child has three or more middle ear infections in six months or fluid persists in the middle ear for more than three months and affects the hearing of the child, a procedure called Pressure Equalization Tube placement is considered. In this procedure, a small incision usually a few millimeters in length is made in the eardrum using a microscope and a small tube is inserted, which helps prevent further infections and accumulation of fluid.
Ear tube surgeries are amongst the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States today. Parents have commented that they were surprised how quickly after ear tube placement the child’s hearing and speech improved. Parents often say that everyone in the family can sleep better since the patient no longer has problems sleeping, the siblings aren’t bothered and the parents are no longer worried about the patient. Thus, this and other procedures can have a tremendous benefit to the health of a child and have a significant positive impact on the family as well.
Dr. R. A. Braganza sees both adult and pediatric patients in our Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) Department. Dr. Braganza is board certified in otolaryngology by the American Academy of Otolaryngology and received his medical degree from UCLA. He performed his residency in general surgery at UCSD and is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the California Santa Barbara Ear-Nose-Throat Society. Dr. Braganza has been recognized by Castle Connolly among the nation’s Top Doctors in 2012 and 2013.