Ear foreign-body removal: a review of 98 consecutive cases.
Although patients with external auditory canal foreign bodies present frequently, there is scant literature on the topic other than case reports. A study of 98 consecutive patients referred over a 1-year period to otolaryngologists at a large urban county hospital was undertaken. Fifty-seven percent of these patients were over 12 years of age. A data form was completed by the otolaryngology resident removing the foreign body. Fifty-three percent of the cases had undergone one or more previous attempts at removal prior to the otolaryngologist's attempt, usually by an emergency room physician. Method of removal included use of a microscope in only 6% of previous attempts, while otolaryngologists used a microscope in 91%. Canal wall lacerations were present in 48% of patients following previous attempts at removal by other health-care professionals, but were found in only 4% of removals by an otolaryngologist. Recommendations include use of a microscope for removal and referral to an otolaryngologist if the foreign body is not readily removed by the primary-care physician.
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