A grommet may be inserted in the ear drum by an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon to treat glue ear. Grommets are tiny plastic tubes only 2 or 3 mm long. They have a hole through the middle and the flange on either end to keep them in place. The surgeon makes a tiny cut in the eardrum under anaesthetic and places the grommet in place with a pair of tweezers.
Glue ear is chronic fluid buildup in the middle ear space behind the eardrum. A common cause for this is Eustachian tube dysfunction. There are many causes for this, including tonsillitis and adenoid enlargement. In the past the tonsils and adenoids were often readily removed. Nowadays they are taking out far less frequently. This is because it has been realised that they serve a function to the immune system. Previously they were thought to be of little use.
Placing a grommet in the eardrum allows fluid to drain and dries out the middle ear space. This treats glue ear.
and reduces deafness. It also prevents the infection which often occurs in the fluid. The grommet is often left in place for a few weeks and falls out on its own. The hole heals up easily as it is a clean cut.