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Pioneering treatment may alter ear surgery

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Pioneering treatment may alter ear surgery

By Aaron Derfel, Postmedia NewsJanuary 17, 2012

In what Montreal's Ste. Justine Hospital is claiming to be a world first, one of its surgeons has pioneered a new technique to repair a perforated eardrum that spares kids general anesthesia and hospitalization.

The 20-minute procedure can be done under local anesthesia and has been shown to achieve the same results as conventional surgery. The operation also saves about $1,500 in hospital costs.

"Why should we hospitalize a child for something that can be done on an outpatient basis?" asked Dr. Issam Saliba.

A five-year study demonstrated Saliba's technique successfully repaired perforated eardrums in 92.7 per cent of adults who had the procedure. For children, the success rate was 85.6 per cent. Hearing-test results were equally similar and positive.

A traditional myringoplasty involves grafting muscle tissue from behind or above the ear into the hole in the ear canal. Surgeons also can graft a piece of cartilage - the tragus - which sticks out from the inner ear. Children usually need to stay home from school for at least 10 days following the 90-minute operation.

Saliba's technique uses fatty tissue grafted from a five-millimetre incision at the back of the neck. Saliba inserts the fatty tissue into the eardrum and then places hyaluronic acid, onto the fatty tissue.

"That's the magical solution," Saliba said, alluding to the unique properties of the acid.


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