An Improved Standard of Care for the Treatment of Ear

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Before antibiotics, primary care physicians treated ear infections by performing a tympanocentesis with a 4" syringe that makes a perforation in the ear drum to drain the fluid.  This procedure dates back to 1768 when it was performed with a small myringotomy knife.

It can be relatively painless and the hole in the ear drum heals itself in 1-2 days.  The challenge with this procedure is to limit the depth of penetration while administering to a squirming child so as to avoid injuring any of the internal structures of the middle ear or nicking the inner ear.  With the introduction of systemic antibiotic, the skill to perform tympanocentesis has been lost by all but ENT specialists.


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