This week’s spectacular Ear Pic of the Week was taken by Otolaryngologist, Dr. Charles Caplan of Renton, WA.
In the past few months the Oto has captured a lot images of ear tubes and we’ve even written about them on the blog, but this photo of an ear tube stood out from the rest. We consulted with Dr. Caplan and this is what we learned.
This T tube is used when there is a long-term need for ventilation of the middle ear space. This one looks a bit different than the typical rounded tubes, but as Dr. Caplan explains, the flanges on the outside keep it from falling into the middle ear. The long round protrusion is a handle to use to remove it. Dr. Caplan says this protrusion is not really necessary because when the tube is ready to be removed, the doctor can typically just grab the tube itself.
This patient has had several prior tube placements, and each time had a recurrence of otitis media with effusion shortly after the tube was removed. Dr. Caplan hopes this tube will stay in for several years. The tube can become clogged over time with dried mucus, so the patient must use drops to soften it before coming to Dr. Caplan’s office for a cleaning every 3-4 months.
Thank you, Dr. Caplan for the great photo and helping us to understand one of the many varieties of ear tubes.