What do we mean by Eustachian Tube Dilatation?
Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation is an endoscopic nasal procedure to treat Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD) which causes ear pain, fullness of ear, muffled hearing, and dizziness. This procedure is based on the idea that temporary dilatation of the eustachian tube can improve symptoms (loss of hearing, pain and auditory fullness, otorrhea, tinnitus, and dizziness) of patients with tubal dysfunction.
Using an endoscope the Balloon Dilation system is inserted through one of the nostril to back of the nasal cavity where the Eustachian Tube is located. The balloon dilation device has a curved, hook-like tip through which the deflated balloon is inserted into the Eustachian tube.
The balloon once inserted to the correct length as marked by the indicator on the balloon is inflated to open up the pathway for mucus and air to flow through the tube. After the tube is dilated, the surgeon deflates and removes the balloon.
EUSTACHIAN TUBE DYSFUNCTION: symptoms
ETD occurs when the Eustachian tube becomes blocked or fails to open properly. As air cannot get into the middle ear, the air pressure becomes unequal, with greater pressure on the outside of the eardrum than on the inside, in the middle ear. This pressure pushes the eardrum inward, so it becomes tense and does not vibrate properly when it is hit by sound waves.
Symptoms of ETD can last for several hours to several weeks or longer. They may include:
- Dull or muffled hearing
- Ear pain
- Feeling of fullness in the ear
- Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ear)
EUSTACHIAN TUBE DYSFUNCTION: CAUSES
- Common cold and other nasal, sinus, ear, or throat infections:Blocked nasal passages and thick mucus with a cold or infection can block the Eustachian tube and cause ETD. Infection can also cause inflammation and swelling of the lining of Eustachian the tube. ETD symptoms can persist for a week or more after a cold or infection has healed, as trapped mucus and swelling can take some time to resolve.
- Glue ear:This is a condition, common among children, in which the middle ear becomes filled with a glue-like fluid. The Eustachian tube becomes congested, so air cannot flow into the middle ear. This creates a difference in air pressure, which can lead to muffled hearing and pain. The glue-like fluid further interferes with the vibrations of the eardrum, which can further affect the hearing.
- Allergies:Hay fever or persistent rhinitis (inflammation of the nose), that come with a blocked, itchy, runny nose and sneezing, can cause extra mucus and inflammation in and around the Eustachian tubes. This can lead to Eustachian tube dysfunction.
- Blockage of the Eustachian tube:Enlarged adenoids or any condition that causes a blockage in the Eustachian tubes can lead to ETD. In rare cases, tumors that develop in the back of the nose can cause ETD.
Our ENT team is an expert in diagnosis. In most cases, the common procedure to detect ETD is a nasal endoscopy and at times, tympanometry.
ETD is also diagnosed with the help of CT scans. The ENT Surgeon also carries out a head and neck exam to check whether the patient experiences any issues due to a fluid imbalance in the ear.