Endoscopic ear surgery

Published: Jun. 10, 2016 at 1:07 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2016 at 1:58 PM EDT
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DALLAS (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) -- Hearing loss, speech or language delay, ruptured ear drums, or even meningitis can occur when ear infections become chronic. Corrective ear surgery can be painful, but a new technique allows surgeons to see more and cut less.

Usually Bonnie Toronjo helps Dr. Brandon Isaacson, MD, Associate professor, Department of Otolaryngology at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Health in Dallas, as he performs pediatric ear surgery. But she started experiencing her own ear problems.

She says, "At its worst. I felt like my ears were going to explode."

Bonnie knew the stakes were high.

"I feared I was going to lose my hearing, and I wouldn't hear my kids again," Bonnie says.

Dr. Isaacson found abnormal skin growths, called cholesteatomas, in each ear. They were destroying delicate bones of the middle ear. Even though bonnie feared the pain of surgery, she said 'yes' to a new, less invasive technique.

Dr. Isaacson says, "We use an endoscope which is a thin metal tube that has fiber optic cables in it and it projects an image onto a TV screen, and we operate exclusively through the ear canal."

Advantages of this type of ear surgery over typical ear surgery include less pain, shorter recovery and equivalent outcomes.

"The main advantage of endoscopic technique is you can look around corners. We're trying to be more minimally invasive and improve patient outcomes and improve patient comfort," Dr. Isaacson says.

Besides pain relief, the procedure widened Bonnie's world

She says, "All of a sudden, it was like over-sensory load of sounds I hadn't been hearing for about three weeks. And I was like oh my god, I can hear, I can hear everything and it was just amazing."

Bonnie had one ear done just a couple of months ago and plans to have the other ear surgically corrected within a year.

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