Endoscopic Ear Surgery

Traditionally ear surgery has been performed using a binocular operating microscope. This technique affords an excellent view but only in a straight line. Many ear conditions can occur in areas of the middle ear that can't be accessed by the operating microscope without the removal of significant amounts of bone around the margins of the ear drum and often quite large incisions around the external ear. 

More recently, endsoscopic techniques for ear surgery have been developed. By utilising 0, 30 and 45 degree rigid endoscopes attached to a high definition camera it is now possible to access areas of the middle ear without the need for incisions or the removal of large amounts on normal bone. Many cholesteotomas and ear drum perforations can now be repaired by this technique.  The surgery is performed with the endoscope in one hand and specially  instruments for one handed surgery in the other. These techniques offer a number of advantages including:

  • faster healing and recovery.
  • less discomfort.
  • less removal of healthy normal tissue.
  • better access to some areas of the middle ear.

There are some disadvantages to Endoscopic techniques as well;

  • limited access to more extensive problems involving the mastoid behind the ear.
  • one handed technique may not be appropriate.

Each case needs to be assessed on its merits as to which technique is appropriate. Dr. Varley has been performing endoscopic ear surgery for the last 10 years and will advise the best approach.