This diagram shows the right and
left eustachian tubes
The left side of the diagram shows the
balloon catheter inserted into the eustachian tube
Conservative medical management can include medications such as allergy pills, oral decongestants, and nasal steroid sprays.
These medications can reduce inflammation within the tube or adjacent to that in an effort to “open” the tube and promote its normal function. For example:
- intranasal steroids such as fluticasone nasal spray (Flonase)
- decongestants (Sudafed)
- antihistamines (allergy pills)
- over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen or naproxen
- oral steriods (prednisone)
Another option is to make a small incision in the eardrum to suction out middle ear fluid. A ventilation tube in the eardrum can be inserted to help keep it open.
When medical treatment fails, eustachian tube dilation may be considered. It is a recent technique using a saline filled balloon catheter. Frequently, Dr. Sikand performs this procedure in conjunction with balloon sinus dilation in the office setting. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia. This has comfortable for the patient and takes approximately 2 minutes per side.
It has been shown in studies to be beneficial in managing chronic eustachian tube dysfunction. According to a recently published study, about 70% of patients achieve successful long-term results after the procedure.
Currently, Dr. Sikand and his staff are participating in a nationwide research study to further evaluate the technique of this particular procedure. Although enrollment for the study is over, we continue to collect data to be interpreted for future publication.