What is an Ear Infection?
When bacteria or viruses take root and multiply in your ear, you may develop an ear infection. Due to fluid buildup and inflammation, an ear infection may be painful. If you experience ear infections repeatedly, you may face permanent damage to the middle or inner portions of your ear.
Symptoms of Ear Infections
Ear infections usually cause one or more of the following symptoms.
- Pain and discomfort in or around the ear
- Drainage of pus or fluid from the ear
- Feeling pressure in the ear
- Mild loss of hearing
Causes of Ear Infections
The eustachian tube connects your middle ear to the throat and nasal cavity. It helps equalize air pressure between the inner ear as well as the outside of your body. When that eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up can occur and lead to an ear infection. The most common causes of eustachian tube blockages include:
- Common cold
- Sinus infections
- Air pressure changes, such as from ascending or descending in an airplane
Treatment for Recurrent Ear Infections: Tympanostomy Tube Placement Surgery
Tympanostomy tube placement surgery (sometimes called Tube Under Local Anesthesia, or TULA for short) is a relatively new, breakthrough surgical procedure that addresses recurrent ear infections and persistent fluid in the middle ear, which often affects children under age 12.
TULA involves making a small incision on the eardrum so that any fluid buildup can be removed. After the procedure, a small plastic tube, called a tympanostomy tube, is placed in the eardrum. The tube aerates the middle ear and helps prevent fluid buildup infections from occurring.
Where and How is the Surgery Performed?
TULA is usually performed in your physician's office without general anesthesia for patients six months and older. Using TULA, your physician numbs the eardrum using a child-friendly anesthesia. They'll use an automated specialized Tube Delivery System to precisely place the ear tube in the correct spot in less than a second. Since children are free to sit up, play, and watch videos during the procedure, it's incredibly comfortable and easy for them.
On November 25, 2019, Tusker Medical received FDA approval to use the TULA system. Additionally, the TULA system was granted the Breakthrough Device designation, meaning the FDA guided Tusker Medical with the development of the device. This designation is reserved for devices that treat or diagnose a life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating disease or condition.