Otitis media, or infections of the middle ear, results in accumulation of fluid within the tympanic cavity that can be painful and lead to a dramatic decrease in the ability to hear. Children are more prone to otitis media. Fluid accumulation in the middle ear has also been linked to hearing loss. Persistent hearing loss may negatively influence language development, behaviour, and progress in school.
The first treatment option is typically a regimen of antibiotics. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, tympanostomy tube insertion is recommended. The insertion of tubes in some children completely eliminates middle ear infections, improves hearing and reduces symptoms. Today, it is estimated that more than 7% of children require tympanostomy tubes. The majority of patients receiving tympanostomy tubes are 2-3 years old.
Tympanostomy tubes allow free exchange of air between the outer and middle ear to ventilate and drain middle ear fluid thereby reducing the potential for infection. Traditionally this has required a surgical procedure while the child is under general anaesthetic in a hospital operating room.
Using the all-in-one ear tube placement device, the Solo+™ procedure
may be carried out in suitable patients by an ENT surgeon under topical anaesthetic.