Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation
What Are Eustachian Tubes?
The eustachian tube is a canal that connects the middle ear to the nasopharynx, which consists of the upper throat and the back of the nasal cavity. The Eustachian Tubes are responsible for equalizing ear pressure and draining fluid from the middle ear, the part of the ear behind the eardrum. The eustachian tubes are usually closed except for when you chew, swallow, or yawn.
What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?
Blocked eustachian tubes can cause pain, hearing difficulties, and a feeling of fullness in the ears. Such a phenomenon is referred to as eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD). Patients suffering from Eustachian Tube Dysfunction typically report having ear pain or pressure during take offs and landings of airplane or driving in the mountains.
If you have Eustachian Tube Dysfunction:
- Your ears may feel clogged or full
- Sounds may seem muffled
- You may feel a popping or clicking sensation
- You may have pain in one or both ears
- You may hear ringing in your ears (called tinnitus).
- You may sometimes have trouble keeping your balance.
What is Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation?
With the new Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation System, Dr. Douglas Holmes inserts a small balloon into the Eustachian Tube via the patient’s nose.
Once within the Eustachian Tube, the balloon is inflated in order to create an open pathway for mucus and air to flow through the tube. After a pathway is opened, Dr. Holmes will deflate and remove the balloon.
Prior to this new treatment option, treatment options for ETD were limited to medication and ear tube surgery, which helped to relieve symptoms, but were unable to provide relief from severe complications.