Surgery for Chronic Ear Infections Myringotomy Most often, ear infections clear up with medication, but in some cases, further treatment is required. An operation called myringotomy, creates a small incision in the eardrum to allow fluid to drain and relieve pain in the ear. The incision heals within a few days with practically no scarring or injury to the eardrum. Ventilation Tubes In some cases, ventilation tubes (often referred to as "tubes") are placed into the incision to improve hearing and prevent fluid build-up in the eardrum. The tubes remain in the ear until the middle ear infection improves and the eustachian tube returns to normal. The tubes may be in the ear(s) for weeks or months. During this time, it's important to keep water out of the ear because it can cause an infection.