What is the role of suction in the removal of 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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Connect the soft-tipped suction catheter to low wall suction and position the patient comfortably. Visualize the foreign body with the otoscope. Maintain the position of the otoscope while retracting its lens to one side. Introduce the catheter through the otoscope and gently advance it incrementally until the foreign body is contacted. Gently withdraw the suction catheter tip and attached foreign body from the external auditory canal. Repeat a postprocedural ear examination to confirm complete removal of the foreign body and to check for complications. See video below.

Suction method.

Abandon attempts to retrieve a foreign body if complications arise. If the object migrates farther into the canal or if bleeding, edema, or increasing pain develops, consult an ENT specialist. Repeated attempts to remove a foreign body from the ear may result in infection, perforation, or other morbidity. [12, 13, 14]

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