Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Tympanocentesis for Ear Infections
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 medicine to help him or her
relax. Or a doctor or nurse may apply medicine 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
This procedure is not often done. It is sometimes done:
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.
The child has to stay very still during the procedure.
Ask your doctor if your child needs to take extra care to keep water from getting in the ears when bathing or
swimming. Your child may need to wear earplugs. Check with your doctor to find out what he or she recommends.
Tympanocentesis does not prevent repeated ear infections (recurrent
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - PediatricsSpecialist Medical ReviewerCharles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital.