Tympanic membrane retraction is a significant sequela of OME and has been linked clinically to atelectasis, ossicular erosion, and cholesteatoma. We investigated important factors for prediction of tympanic membrane retraction in a prospective study of 112 children. After 4 to 6 years of follow-up, 12% of ears had pars tensa retraction without atrophy, and 28% had various degrees of retraction with atrophy. Mild pars flaccida retraction was present in 23%, and severe pars flaccida retraction was present in 12%. Retraction severity was related to hearing level and multifrequency tympanometry. Three factors were significantly related to retraction severity: type of tube, male sex, and percent of visits in the second year with abnormal tympanograms. This study shows that type of tube was the most important factor in long-term outcome after tympanostomy tube treatment of OME.