I have had a lot of people ask me “so what exactly is a grommet and what does it do?”. Small Boy is due to have a small procedure, under general anaesthetic, next week, to insert grommets into both of his ears. The correct term for the procedure is Myringotomy and insertion of grommets. It is a very short, usually uncomplicated procedure, and he will hopefully be home within a few hours of the operation. Whilst I am not looking forward to him having to have a general anaesthetic, the risks are very low, and after a long stretch (over two years) we feel that this is the right choice of treatment for his glue ear. Most children recover from glue ear without surgery, but some do need the intervention, and our Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon thinks that Small Boy will benefit from the procedure.
This website, has some good illustrations and explanation of what the inner ear looks like and where the grommet would be placed and how it works.
Below is a picture of what the grommet will look like in Small Boy’s ear, when it has been inserted.
Grommets are tiny, less than half a centimetre, in size. I remember when I worked in ENT, we used to do many grommet insertion procedures, and they were very fiddly to get correctly positioned to hand to the surgeon, so he could place them correctly. There are several types of grommets, but this one, is the one the surgeon who is treating Small Boy, prefers to use. It is a Shah grommet.
The coin is a 5pence piece, so you can see how small the grommet is. The grommet is inserted into an opening in the ear drum, after any fluid or mucous (the glue, hence why the condition is called “glue ear”) is drained, and then it stays in place, and drains any fluid, and eases pressure on the ears, relieving pain and discomfort and hopefully preventing further ear infections. It will fall out, and hopefully Small Boy wont need the procedure repeating, but we are taking this road, one step at a time!
So, there you go, a very basic explanation of what a grommet it, and what will be happening next week.
The websites I sourced the information from are: