The Case of the Popcorn Kernel

It’s not unusual for kids to stick things in their ears, but sometimes the discovery of such an object is still a bit of surprise to all those involved. This case comes from Dr. Carl Peluso of Elmbrook Pediatrics and it is a story about an earache, the CellScope Oto and one curious child.

Think of this: Dr. Peluso examining a young girl at a Well Child Care visit, when the patient’s mother asked if he could also look at her son’s ear since he complained that morning of right ear pain. After the daughter’s exam was finished, Dr. Peluso moved on to inspect the boy’s ears. Upon examining the boy’s right ear, Dr. Peluso noticed something was obscuring his visualization of the eardrum.

Foreign body in the lumen canal.

Foreign body in the lumen canal.

“Right away I realized it was not cerumen (ear wax) and decided to try to remove it in the office. I tried a pair of tweezers without success and was about to give up, but then I remembered we had a set of alligator forceps that might do the job,” shared Dr. Peluso.

Using the CellScope Oto, Dr. Peluso was able to show the little boy what he was trying to get out of his ear. This made him comfortable enough to let Dr. Peluso try once again with the “cool” forceps. After one more try, he was able to get a good grip and pull it out whole. Much to everyone’s surprise it was a colored popcorn kernel!

The foreign body is identified; it's a colored popcorn kernel!

The foreign body is identified; it’s a colored popcorn kernel!

“I thought that would be the end of it,” said Dr. Peluso, “but a follow up video revealed he had an underlying Acute Otitis Media as well.”

The Tympanic Membrane after the kernel was removed.

The Tympanic Membrane after the popcorn kernel was removed.

Neither the mother nor the young boy could remember when he might have put the kernel in his ear, but Dr. Peluso thinks it is likely that it had been there a while and only started to become uncomfortable when the boy developed the bulging tympanic membrane.

“It was neat to be able to see a before and after video and to share it with the patient’s mom who thought it was cool too!” said Dr. Peluso.

Many thanks to one of our Pioneer physicians and two-time contributor to the Tympanic Times, Dr. Carl Peluso. Thanks for sharing!

Interested in becoming a Pioneer? Learn more here!

2 thoughts on “The Case of the Popcorn Kernel

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