(Microscopic examination and Ear toileting)
At Gympie Road Medical Centre, we offer an advanced way to help patients with external ear issues such as infective otitis extern (Swimmer’s ear), foreign objects, pus/debris or wax.
Our doctors have been helping patients by using sophisticated equipment (operating microscopes, micro-instrumentation, suction and lighting) that are often unavailable through most family practices or Emergency departments.
There are two common methods of cleaning the ear canal:
- Traditional syringing
Performing syringing is widely available in majority of GP practices or emergency departments.
While it is an effective way and is the most available method, drum perforations, canal trauma, and infection are not infrequent after syringing. Perforations commonly occur in previously weakened drums. Canal trauma from either unsteady hands or jerking patient movement. Fortunately, these mishaps normally resolve with conservative care.
- Use of the microscope and a micro-suction
This equipment is extremely helpful to illuminate the external auditory canal plus performing suctioning under direct vision.
Foreign items such as cotton buds, seeds, or other vegetable matter that may absorb water, should not be irrigated, as they may swell and become more difficult to remove. In these cases, microscopic suctioning is the preferred method.
Moreover, in patients with recurrent infection of external auditory canal this method provides the superior clinical outcome comparing to syringing.
Micro suctioning is generally well tolerated, safe and efficacious. It also has the advantage of not exposing the ear to moisture, thus has fewer contraindications, and is associated with a lower frequency of infections. Discomfort due to noise is the greatest complaint but is tolerable in majority of cases.
Otitis externa (commonly called swimmers ear) is an inflammation of the skin of the auditory canal. Infection is a common problem especially during the summer time when people tend to swim more often. The ear canal is a narrow, warm, blind-ended tunnel, which makes it a good protected environment for germs to grow in if they are given a chance.
Most infections are caused by a germ (bacterium). Occasionally, they can be due to a fungal or yeast infection. Fungal infections often persist for weeks unless cleared by expert micro suction. Eardrops are usually enough to cure a bout of short-lasting (acute) otitis externa. However, other treatments are sometimes added. This is more likely to be necessary if you notice any of the following:
- Your ears are particularly painful or swollen
- Your ears are completely blocked (so that the drops cannot penetrate properly).
- Your otitis externa keeps coming back or has become persistent (chronic).
It is also very important that you take steps to help things settle down, as if the conditions that caused the otitis externa in the first place are unchanged, it may well come back.
It may be helpful for your doctor to clear away discharge and dust from the ear canal. This is to allow the treatment (drops) to make better contact with the lining of the ear canal, so that they can be more effective. Proper suctioning under the microscope equipment (Ear toileting) may clean the ear canal.
Your doctor might use compound ointment after cleaning your ear canal and this cleaning may need to be repeated after a few days. At Gympie Road Medical Centre, we offer this prompt onsite care to patients above age of ten without care without having to travel far from our clinic.