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Day surgery: Drain tubes - discharge care

  • For children going home after having drain tubes (grommets) put into or taken out of their ears during day surgery

    Eating and drinking

    • After the anaesthetic, your child can start eating a light diet such as sandwiches, pasta, soup or jelly. Avoid fatty or junk food.
    • For babies: breastfeed or give formula feeds as usual.

    Nausea and vomiting

    • Do not worry if your child feels sick or vomits once or twice after leaving hospital.
    • If they vomit or feel sick, stop giving food for about one hour. Then try a light diet if your child can manage it without feeling ill.
    • If your child keeps vomiting, please call your child's surgeon or your nearest hospital emergency department.

    Wound care

    • It's very important to keep your child's ears dry after surgery.
    • Ear plugs can be bought from any chemist to help keep water out.
    • If your child wants to swim, ask the surgeon first.
    • Oozing from the ear is common for one to two days.
    • Only clean the outer ear. Do not put anything inside the ear.
    • If oozing continues or your child has an ongoing earache please contact your family doctor. Your child may have an ear infection.


    • Because your child has had anaesthetic, they should rest for the next 24 hours with an adult taking care of them.

    Pain relief

    • Paracetamol can be given at home every four to six hours for one to two days if needed. Read the packaging for the correct dose for your child according to their age. Ask for help if you are unsure. Do not give any medicine with paracetamol in it more than four times in 24 hours.
    • For more severe pain call your child's surgeon or see your family doctor.


      • Please arrange a follow-up appointment as discussed with your child's surgeon, otherwise an outpatient appointment notice will be posted to you in the week after your child's surgery.
      • A follow-up appointment is usually scheduled for two to four weeks after the surgery, and may involve an audiology assessment.
      • Contact your surgeon if you have any questions or concerns about your child's care at home.

      Contact details

      • The name of your child's surgeon in the ENT Department is:  


      • The Royal Children's Hospital
        T: (03) 9345 5522 (24hrs)
        Ask switchboard to page the on-call surgical ENT registrar if you are concerned about your child.

      • Surgery Centre
        Monday to Friday  7AM to 7PM
        T: (03) 9345 6570

      Factsheet developed by the RCH Surgery Centre.  First published 2005. Updated January 2012.


    This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.