Infra-red tympanic thermometry is a relatively new technique for measuring body temperature which requires the minimum of co-operation and is quick and easy to use. It is therefore ideal for use in children. Its use is becoming more widespread and as it is theoretically possible that minor ear surgery may interfere with function its reliability in these patients may be in question.
Twenty-two children (mean age 5.3 years) who underwent myringotomy ± grommet insertion had the tympanic temperature of each ear measured immediately before, and 15 minutes after, surgery on the recovery ward. No difference was found between the pre- and post-operative temperatures (mean difference – 0.1°C, p>0.1, paired t-test, hypothesized difference of 0).
This thermometer appears to be a reliable way of monitoring body temperature on a paediatric ENT recovery ward in patients who have undergone minor ear surgery.