Montreal, Canada — A new surgical technique for treating perforations of the tympanic membrane in children and adults has been developed at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center, an affiliate of the University of Montreal. The new technique is reported to be as effective as traditional myringoplasty, yet less expensive and able to be performed in 20 minutes at an outpatient clinic.

Dr Issam Saliba developed the new technique and says that this treatment can make ear drum surgery more readily available and substantially reduce waiting lists at Canadian hospitals.

“In the past 5years, I’ve operated on 132 young patients in the outpatient clinic at the Sainte-Justine UHC using this technique, as well as on 286 adults at the University of Montreal Hospital Centre (CHUM) outpatient clinic,” says Saliba in a press statement. “Regardless of the size of the perforation, the results are as good as those obtained using traditional techniques, with the incomparable advantage that patients don’t have to lose an entire working day, or 10 days or more off school in the case of children.”

The technique, which Saliba calls Hyaluronic Acid Fat Graft Myringoplasty (HAFGM), requires only basic materials: a scalpel, forceps, a probe, a small container of hyaluronic acid, a small amount of fat taken from behind the ear, and a local anesthetic.

The operation, which is performed through the ear canal, allows the body by itself to rebuild the entire tympanic membrane after about 2 months on average, allowing patients to recover their hearing completely and preventing recurring cases of ear infection (otitis).

Because it requires no general anesthetic, operating room, or hospitalization, the technique makes surgery much more readily available, particularly outside large urban hospital centers, and at considerably lower cost.

“With the traditional techniques, you have to be on the waiting list for up to a year and a half in order to be operated on. Myringoplasty using the HAFGM technique reduces waiting times, cost of the procedure, and time lost by parents and children. What’s more, it will help clear the backlogs on waiting lists,” Saliba says.

A summary of Saliba’s new technique was published online.

SOURCE: University of Montreal