What are the complications of ear tube surgery?

As with any type of surgery, ear tube surgery may have certain complications. These include the following:

  • The hole in the eardrum doesn’t close after the tube comes out. If this happens, the hole has to be repaired with another surgery.
  • Scarring of the eardrums, caused by multiple ear infections or by the ear tube surgery itself.
  • Repeated ear infections, even after ear tube surgery.
  • The ear tubes either fall out early, or don’t come out at all.
  • A condition called otorrhea (a continuous drainage of fluid from the ear).
  • The eardrum may shrink or harden after several ear tube surgeries.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/19/2018.


  • American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery. Ear tubes Accessed 6/22/2018.
  • Merck Manual. Myringotomy. Accessed 6/22/2018.
  • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Ear Infections in Children. Accessed 6/22/2018.

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