Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a common condition caused by the inadequate opening and closing of the Eustachian tube. Symptoms include ear pressure, fullness, pain, and muffled hearing. Patients who suffer from ETD often experience ear popping or crackling, and feel the need to clear their ears throughout the day. When chronic and severe, this not only leads to ear pain and pressure, but can result in fluid behind the ear drum. This fluid causes muffled hearing, hearing loss, and sometimes recurrent middle ear infection.
The standard treatment for ETD is medical. Nasal steroids and antihistamines are the first line treatment for this condition. In severe cases, patients may need oral steroids and decongestants. When medical treatment fails, traditional surgical treatment requires myringotomy tube placement.
Eustachian tube dilation is a new FDA approved treatment for chronic ETD in adults. This is indicated when medical treatments have failed, and is a less invasive surgical therapy than placing myringotomy tubes. Eustachian tube dilation not only expands the dysfunctional cartilaginous portion of the Eustachian tube, by compression it reduces the inflammatory elements lining the tube wall. This results in a long term symptom reduction benefit.
At Corpus Christi ENT Sinus & Allergy we perform this procedure in the office setting using IV sedation. The procedure takes less than 10 minutes and is performed via nasal endoscopy. There is no bleeding with this procedure and patients are able to return to normal activity the following day without restriction.