Grommet insertion

What is glue ear?

Glue ear is a common condition where fluid collects in the middle ear behind the eardrum (see figure 1). It can cause deafness and repeated earache or infections, resulting in discharge from the ear.

Grommet insertion 

What are the benefits of surgery?

A grommet (small plastic or metal tube) allows air to enter the middle ear, preventing fluid build-up.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

The condition will almost always get better by itself.

Surgery is recommended if the glue ear continues for longer than three months and is causing problems with poor hearing or repeated ear infections.

What does the operation involve?

Grommet insertion is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but a local anaesthetic can be used. The operation usually takes about twenty minutes.

Your surgeon will make a small hole in the eardrum and remove the fluid by suction. They will then place a plastic or metal grommet in the hole.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding

Specific complications of this operation:

  • Fluid leaking from the ear
  • Ear discharge
  • Small hole left in the ear drum after the grommet falls out
  • Repeated build-up of fluid in the middle ear

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice. Other than swimming, you should be able to return to normal activities after 24 hours.

The grommet will fall out of your ear by itself, after nine to twelve months for the plastic type and after about two years for the metal type.

Grommet insertion summary

Glue ear is a common condition that usually gets better without any surgery. Surgery is recommended when the condition lasts longer than three months and the hearing loss is causing problems.

How to pay for your operation

Grommet insertion costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

Acknowledgements

Author: Miss Ruth Capper MD FRCS (ORL-HNS)

Illustrations: LifeART image copyright 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Copyright © 2008 EIDO Healthcare Limited   The operation and treatment information on this website is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by BMI Healthcare. The intellectual property rights to the information belong exclusively to EIDO Healthcare Limited. You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Pricing

Grommet insertion

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £2,311 Included £2,311
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £2,511
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £2,311
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees Included
Total £2,511

Terms & Conditions

Treatment prices displayed are a guide for initial consultation, and a guide price for our fixed price packages which include pre-assessment, procedure and aftercare. Your Consultant will be able to discuss costs in greater detail at your consultation, after which a quote of your fixed price package will be provided [which is subject to results of any pre-assessment tests]. Prices can be subject to change.

For more information please refer to our terms and conditions (large print version).

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