Which removal techniques are used for ear foreign bodies?

Updated: May 08, 2018
  • Author: Angela On-Kee Kwong, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Techniques appropriate for the removal of ear foreign bodies include mechanical extraction, irrigation, and suction. Practitioners should allow the nature of the foreign body to guide the choice of technique. Irrigation is contraindicated for organic matter that may swell through osmosis and enlarge within the auditory canal. Insects, organic matter, and objects with the potential to become friable and break into smaller evasive pieces are often better extracted with suction than with forceps. Live insects in the ear canal should be immobilized before removal is attempted. [7] Mineral oil, microscope oil, and viscous lidocaine have all been used successfully for this purpose. [10, 11]

Foreign body removal from the ear. Courtesy of Hamid R Djalilian, MD.

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