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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Can eardrum be lanced to relieve pressure?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Sumit Bhatti

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 2586 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 6 Jun 2014 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: My wife has been diagnosed with a middle ear infection a week ago and her Eustachian tubes are completely blocked. The left ear has ruptured once then healed. she has been in constant pain for a week and the pressure feels extreme like it could burst again. She is on oral antibiotics- augmentin, was on oral steroids- prednisone, topical pain drops (not using now due to rupture), and oral pain med - tramadol. She had a kenalog shot yesterday too. She needs relief from the pain and pressure and Dr. Says it is slowly getting better but is not willing to do anything immediate or prescribe tubes. This is a recurring problem every 1 - 2 years. Can the eardrum be lanced to relieve the pressure? What can be done? Thank you in advance.XXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
As below:

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Thank you for your query.

1. From your description it seems that a simple myringotomy (lancing of the ear drum) will help a controlled release of pressure and the severe pain. The other option is injectable painkillers if nothing is done. Either the ear infection will settle down with medication or the eardrums may rupture again, releasing the pressure and pain. You may ask your physician to consider the complications by not releasing the fluid pressure. An HR (High Resolution) CT+MRI Scan of the Temporal Bones (and Sinuses) will help.

2. The decision whether to insert the ventilation tubes (grommets) depends upon the severity of the infection. In addition, a plain myringotomy incision is taken circumferentially to allow the incision site to gape and heal slowly, while the incision for a grommet is in a radial direction.

3. There is also the added benefit of being able to collect a sample of the middle ear fluid collection for bacterial culture and antibiotic sensitivity.

4. Once the infection is settled, a search for the reasons behind the Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD) can be investigated. This may be discussed later.

I hope that I have answered your query. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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