Radical technique repairs damaged eardrum in minutes

Toronto: A radical technique that requires only about 20 minutes in an outpatient clinic may replace long and costly eardrum surgery in children.

The quick procedure, requiring only local anaesthesia, will be much easier on patients and parents and also substantially reduce long waiting lists, stretching to 18 months.

Issam Saliba developed the low cost technique to treat perforations of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) in children and adults, at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre, affiliated to the University of Montreal, reports the journal Archives of Otolaryngology reports.

"In the past five years, I`ve operated on 132 young patients in the outpatient clinic at the Sainte-Justine UHC using this technique, as well as on 286 adults at the University of Montreal Hospital Centre (CHUM) outpatient clinic," says Saliba, an ENT specialist and professor of otology and neuro-otology.

"Regardless of the size of the perforation, the results are as good as those obtained using traditional techniques, with the incomparable advantage that patients don`t have to lose an entire working day, or 10 days or more off school in the case of children."

The technique, which Saliba has designated "HAFGM" (Hyaluronic Acid Fat Graft Myringoplasty), requires only basic materials: a scalpel, forceps, a probe, a small container of hyaluronic acid, a small amount of fat taken from behind the ear and a local anaesthetic.

The operation, which is performed through the ear canal, allows the body by itself to rebuild the entire eardrum after about two months on average, allowing patients to recover their hearing completely and preventing recurring cases of ear infection (otitis).

"With the traditional techniques, you have to be on the waiting list for up to a year-and-a-half in order to be operated on. Myringoplasty (reconstruction of eardrum) using the HAFGM technique reduces waiting times, cost of the procedure and time lost by parents and children. What`s more, it will help clear the backlogs on waiting lists," Saliba says.


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