With such delicate parts involved, you need a trusted professional to perform pediatric ear surgery.
Pediatric ear surgery may be deemed necessary for a variety of different reasons. In some cases, children can have a congenital defect, or they may suffer injury, develop a growth, or experience recurrent ear infections.
In any instance, these patients will be referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist so that surgery can be expertly performed.
Reasons for Pediatric Ear Surgery
It is simplest to think of the human ear as just the visible cartilage, canal, and ear drum. However, the ear actually has several complex and specialized parts that work together to provide the hearing that most of us experience on a daily basis.
All of these complex parts also mean that there are more opportunities for possible malfunction. For example, microtia is a condition in which the outer ear is misshaped, while atresia is characterized by a narrow or missing ear canal. These conditions are present from birth. Other patients can require pediatric ear surgery when they develop cysts, called cholesteatomas.
Additionally, there are a number of reasons why a pediatric patient might need to have surgery to repair their ear drum, or tympanic membrane. Some of these cases are needed as a result of chronic or persistent ear infections, which have caused damage. Other cases may be a result of an injury that permeated the tympanic membrane.
There are also surgeries that delve further into the structures of the ear. These include cases in which there is damage to the ossicular bones, or when growths and cysts have developed in this inner area. Lastly, pediatric patients can utilize technology such as cochlear implants and bone anchored hearing aids to restore or improve the recipient’s ability to hear.
Types of Pediatric Ear Surgery
Once an ear, nose, and throat doctor has confirmed that surgery is needed, they will likely work with audiologists, plastic surgeons, or radiologists. As a team, these professionals will determine the best course of action dependent on the patient and the cause of the issue.
Patients who are born with microtria may benefit from reconstructive surgery, or otoplasty. This type of surgery can repair hearing and improve speech development. Atresia patients may be candidates for atresiaplasty in order to open the ear canal. Since there is a high comorbidity of atresia and microtria, the doctor will have to determine the optimal order for the procedures in these cases.
In the event that the issue is located in the tympanic membrane, the usual surgical resolutions include tympanoplasty and mastoidectomy. Tympanoplasty is used to repair punctures, whereas mastoidectomies are used to remove infection. One of the most pediatric ear surgeries involving the tympanic membrane is the placement of tubes.
When the ossicular bones are in need of repair, stapedectomies and reconstructive surgery can be viable options. These bones are also the site for bone anchored hearing aids when children need them. However, cochlear implants are also a promising option to restore hearing for children.