Dr Pieter Naudé specialises in a variety of ear procedures, including grommets, tympanoplasty and mastoid surgery.
The wax produced by your ear canal is referred to as cerumen, or more commonly, ear wax. It protects the ears from dust and other harmful particles, and protects the skin from irritation due to moist or water. In normal circumstances, ear wax works its way toward the outside of the ear naturally and is washed away. However, when your glands produce more ear wax than is necessary, you might need your ENT specialist to perform ear wax removal.
Never attempt ear wax removal by yourself if you are unsure of how to proceed – and never try to dig out excess wax as you can cause damage to your ears. The best is to make an appointment with your ENT specialist to have the procedure professionally performed. This can easily be done in the consultation rooms, and you don’t need an aneasthetic for this.
Grommets are tiny plastic or metal tubes that are inserted into the eardrums to treat conditions like glue ear or recurrent middle ear infections. They work by allowing air into the middle ear, taking away the conductive hearing loss and giving the mucosa time to heal itself. During the procedure a tiny cut is made in the eardrum, the fluid suctioned out of the middle ear and the grommet is then put into place, like putting a button though a button hole.
Grommets will also usually fall out as the ear grows over time. This can be after six months, or even as long as a year. In some cases, grommets need to be placed in the ear again when the previous ones are removed or if they have fallen out, but this depends on the patient at the time.
Another popular ear procedure is tymplanoplasty. This refers to surgery to reconstruct the eardrum. The procedure is generally very safe and used to eliminate middle ear issues as well as restore hearing and proper middle ear function.
Your surgeon will make a small incision in or behind the ear canal. The canal skin is then lifted up together with the eardrum and a patch of the patient’s own tissue is slid under the perforated eardrum. This acts as a patch and a scaffold for the normal eardrum to grow closed again.
Dr Naudé is also trained in endoscopic tympanoplasty techniques. In this modern method the eardrum is repaired using a special telescope. The operation is done while looking on a TV monitor, and no cut is made behind the ear.
Mastoid surgery, or a mastoidectomy, is performed to remove infected mastoid air cells. These cells are located behind the ear, in a hollow space in the skull. The cells can become infected if a middle ear infection is not treated and spreads into this area. The condition is called mastoiditis, and can be very serious.
Mastoid surgery is also performed to remove a disease called cholesteatoma. This is a condition where the skin of the eardrum grows into the middle ear and mastoid air cells, instead of outwards.
Stapes surgery, or stapedectomy, is performed to restore the fuction of the hearing bone chain. The eardrum is lifted forward and the hearing bones are palpated to see where the chain is stuck. A small titanium piston is usually inserted to replace the stapes, or third hearing bone. This piston is connected to the second hearing bone (incus) or direct to the eardum, before the eardrum is returned to normal.
For more information about these and various other ear procedures, contact Dr Pieter Naudé today for expert surgical advice.