Our ears are amazing feats of design, and the Eustachian tube is in the middle of it all. Our Eustachian tube is a narrow tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose. This is the tube you feel when blowing your nose or when changing elevation and your ears “pop.”
Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is one of many problems Dr. Daneshrad diagnoses and treats at his clinic locations in Santa Monica and Torrance. It’s estimated that ETD affects roughly five percent of the population, but there’s a new treatment that has FDA approval. Dr. Daneshrad is excited to offer it to our patients across the South Bay area. It’s called Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation.
What Problems Occur With The Eustachian Tube?
The Eustachian tube helps to drain the ear and relieve ear pressure. The job of the Eustachian tube is to protect the middle ear from disease, to ventilate the middle ear, and to help move secretions away from the middle ear. If the Eustachian tube is not able to properly open, it can lead to Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD).
Eustachian tubes can become blocked from a cold, sinus infection, or nose or ear infection. When a blockage occurs, air can no longer pass through. When this happens, stuffy noses and ears, hearing loss, ear pain, and pressure, as well as ringing in the ears (tinnitus) can result.
What Is Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation?
To clear a blocked Eustachian tube, the FDA has approved a new procedure called Eustachian tube balloon dilation. The object of the procedure is to insert a small balloon up into the Eustachian tube, inflate it, and widen the passageway without surgery.
How Is Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation Performed?
For these procedures, Dr. Daneshrad uses the Acclarent AERA™ system. This is the system that gained FDA approval for the treatment of persistent Eustachian tube dysfunction. The Acclarent device is designed specifically to match the anatomy of the Eustachian tube.
Dr. Daneshrad gently inserts the AERA™ guide catheter into and along the base of the nose. The angled catheter is then tilted to align with the Eustachian tube opening. Now, he advances Acclarent AERA™ through the guide catheter into the Eustachian tube. The balloon is advanced up the Eustachian tube until the yellow marker on the device exits the guide catheter or until Dr. Daneshrad feels resistance at the enlarged end of the AERA™ device. This indicates the bulb has reached the narrow isthmus at the upper end of the tube. The balloon is now perfectly positioned along the Eustachian tube.
Next, Dr. Daneshrad inflates the balloon inside the Eustachian tube for a total time of two minutes. This effectively pushes back the narrowed walls of the Eustachian tube. Then the balloon is deflated and removed. This ends the procedure. One or both Eustachian tubes can be dilated and cleared.
Am I A Good Candidate For Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation?
Eustachian tube dysfunction is estimated to bother from one to five percent of the population. For a patient to have ETD, your occurrence of symptoms should be chronic. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you could be a good candidate for this procedure:
- The fullness of the ear
- Pain in the ear
- Muffled hearing
What Results Can A Person Expect From Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation?
To gain FDA approval for this procedure, the Acclarent AERA™ system had to be shown effective in clinical studies. Acclarent AERA™ showed these results:
- 99.7% dilation access rate
- An improvement from 13.9% (control group) to 51.8% in the normalization of the tympanogram (a measure of middle ear pressure).
- A greater improvement in the quality of life 56.1% versus 8.5% in the control group (based on ETD questionnaires).
Can I Use The Acclarent AERA System At Home On My Own?
No. The FDA has cleared this system only for use by ear, nose & throat doctors in an office setting. Patients need to be under general anesthesia.
Is Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation A Permanent Solution To ETD?
These are new treatments, so there are no long-term studies as to how long the dilated Eustachian tube remains open. Thus far, patients have shown excellent relief for over two years following this procedure.
What Are The Risks Involved With Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation?
These have proven to be safe, low-risk procedures. Remember, the balloon simply pushes back the walls of the Eustachian tube. There aren’t any incisions or sutures required.
Side effects include possible slight nosebleed after the procedure. Trauma to the Eustachian tube and the mucosa is possible. If the injury to the tube is significant that could require placement of a tube. These are FDA approved procedures, so they have proven to be safe and effective.
What Can Happen If I Don’t Treat My Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?
Leaving your Eustachian tube blocked is a serious mistake, as it can lead to some serious complications:
- Damage to the middle ear
- Damage to the eardrum
- Perforation of the eardrum
- The collapse of the eardrum into the middle ear
- Inflammation or infection of the middle ear
There’s no reason to risk these issues when Eustachian tube balloon dilation by Dr. Daneshrad with the new Acclarent AERA™ system is so effective.
What People Say About Us!
"Glad I found them online. Dr.Daneshrad was honest and explain everything to me about my situation. They have a great team here!"
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you’re interested in learning more about Eustachian tube balloon dilation please contact us for a consultation at 310.453.6500 or fill out our contact us form below. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.