Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
Insertion of Crawford tubes

Insertion of Crawford tubes

Crawford tubes are used after syringe and probing of the nasolacrimal ducts (tear ducts) has failed to clear a blockage in these ducts.

Length of hospital stay

Your child should not need to stay in hospital overnight.

Preparation for surgery

Your child's anaesthetist will meet with you and your child before the operation to outline the type of anaesthesia to be used, and will welcome any questions you have. A premedication may be ordered at this time. This usually takes the form of a medicine to be swallowed that will provide pain relief, sedation or both. If it is planned to start the anaesthesia by injection, local anaesthetic cream can be put on at this time to numb the area of skin where the intravenous needle/drip is to be put in.

Length of procedure

Your child will be away from the ward for approximately 75 minutes.

After surgery

Your child may have some fresh bloodstained ooze from the nose and some redness of the eyes. You may be able to see the end of the tube in the corner of the eye. Try to prevent your child rubbing their eyes as this may dislodge the tube. The eye doctor will usually review your child before discharge. Your child will need to stay in the Day Surgery Ward for approximately 2 hours after surgery but may need to stay a little longer.

Pain Relief

Paracetamol (Panadol) may be given 4-6 hourly for 24 hours if required. If your child's pain relief is not adequate, please contact your family doctor.


Your child may return from theatre with an Intravenous Cannula (IV drip) in their hand. The nurse will remove the drip before you go home (approximately 1 ½ hours after the operation).

Diet and fluids

There is no need for a special diet following this procedure, but it is recommended your child not eat greasy foods as these may cause vomiting. Do not be concerned if your child vomits once or twice after leaving hospital but if they are unable to keep fluids down and continue to vomit, please contact your family doctor

Discharge care

A small amount of blood loss may continue for up to 24 hours. The Crawford tubes will stay in for approximately six months and your doctor will advise you when your child needs to have the tubes removed (under anaesthetic). If the tube dislodges, or you are concerned please contact the Hospital. If the plastic loop in the corner of the eye increases in length, please contact the Eye Clinic (08) 8161 7000, Monday to Friday, 9am - 4pm.

Follow up appointments

Your child will be seen by the doctor at 1, 3 or 6 months after surgery in the Outpatient Department or the surgeon's rooms. For outpatient appointments - phone (08) 8161 7399.

Return to school and sport

Your child should be ready to return to school and sport the day after surgery.

If you have any concerns after discharge please telephone the Paediatric Day Unit (08) 8161 7448, Monday - Friday, 7.30am - 6.30pm, or see your Family Doctor.  

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last modified: 30 Mar 2009