EAR - Foreign Bodies in Ear

Introduction:

Foreign bodies in the ear are commonly seen in children below 10 years of age.

What are the different types of foreign bodies inside ear?

  1. Inorganic: Beads, rubbers, pencils, metallic balls are commonly inserted by children. In adults, broken ends of a matchsticks are commonly seen.
  2. Organic: Nuts, rice grain, cotton, sponge stimulate acute inflammation and otitis externa. Vegetative foreign bodies tend to swell up with time and get impacted in the ear canal.
  3. Living Foreign Bodies:
    • Flying, or crawling insects may enter the ear canal and cause intense irritation and pain.
    • Maggots: Flies are attracted to foul ear discharge and lay eggs. These eggs hatch into maggots. Maggots cause severe pain with foul discharge. Chloroform water is instilled into the ear to kill the maggots.

What are the different methods of removal of foreign bodies?

The different methods of removal of foreign bodies are as follows:

  1. Syringing: This can be done with warm water or saline for non-hygroscopic, non- traumatic foreign bodies.
  2. Forceps removal: Irregular soft foreign bodies like pieces of cotton, sponge, can be removed by fine crocodile forceps.
  3. Microscopic removal under anaesthesia: Impacted foreign bodies, usually long standing causing otitis externa, can be removed by this method.
  4. Postaural approach: This is rarely required except for foreign bodies like bullet pellets, etc. penetrating into the middle ear or deep in the meatus.

All impacted foreign bodies or those whose earlier attempts of removal have failed, general anaesthesia is preferred.



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