Tympanocentesis is the removal of fluid from behind the eardrum.
The doctor uses a special needle with a tube attached to collect the sample of
culture and sensitivity test is usually done on the
sample of fluid.
Before the test, your child may get medication to help him or her
relax. Or, a doctor or nurse may apply medication directly to the eardrum to
numb the area. If there is a lot of earwax, it is removed from the ear before
the test begins.
The child is held very still while the fluid is removed. You may be
asked to help with holding your child still.
In most cases, the eardrum heals within 3 to 5 days after the
Why It Is Done
This procedure is not often done. It is sometimes done:
When a child has severe earache, fever, and
signs that an
ear infection is not getting better with
When there are signs that a child has serious
complications from an ear infection.
an ear infection is suspected in a newborn or in a child with an
impaired immune system, or when a person is suspected
of having an unusual organism causing the ear infection.
treatment for a child with severe ear pain. Removal of fluid from behind the
eardrum relieves pressure in the ear, easing pain. This may work better than
medications for ear pain.
To collect fluid for testing and/or to
drain fluid when a child is severely ill from an ear infection (acute otitis
media) or when antibiotics have not cleared up the infection.
In most cases, doing a
culture and sensitivity test on fluid collected by
tympanocentesis can identify the bacteria causing the infection. This helps the
doctor prescribe an antibiotic that is more likely to work. Sometimes no
bacteria are found in the fluid.
What To Think About
The child has to stay very still during the procedure.
Tympanocentesis does not prevent repeated ear infections (recurrent
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.