Ear infections (otitis media) are amongst the most common and sometimes serious healthcare
problems in the United States and especially in second and third world countries. Among
other causative factors, genetically induced eustachian tubal dysfunction remains the most important cause.
For example, more than 90% of all children will have acute otitis media (ear infection caused by bacterial infection) before the age of five. In addition, 10% of all children have chronic
otitis media and will develop hearing losses due to otitis media with effusion (OME – which
means fluid – mucoid or serous in the middle ear space behind the ear drum). I have designed
and developed various Paparella ventilation tubes (used throughout the world) which when
used properly ameliorates or improves the chronic otitis media and restores hearing.
Ear infections occur not only in children but are common in adults as well. I initiated the
first NIH sponsored interdisciplinary multi million dollar program grant to study the “pathogenesis of otitis media.” The definition of pathogenesis includes the cause, how the
disease develops, which leads to the pathology. The pathology can cause deafness, drainage,
pain, dizziness and sometimes serious complications involving the brain. I also developed
one of the two largest human temporal bone pathology laboratories in the world whereby
patients with ear diseases can bequeath their temporal bones (ears) for scientific study.
From this research many improved ways of diagnosing and treating otitis media have
evolved. I mention a few here:
- We found that otitis media such as OME in childhood can occur along a continuum
leading to chronic otitis media and complications in adults, such as atelectasis (collapse
of the ear drum), damage to the ossicles (hearing bones) or to chronic otitis media and
chronic mastoiditis whereby fluid pathology in childhood becomes tissue or tumor type
growths in children or adults such as cholesteatoma, granulation tissue or cholesterol
- These latter patients require surgery (called tympanoplasty and/or mastoidectomy) to
eradicate the disease and retain or restore hearing. Here we have developed flexible
surgical techniques based on the pathology and the anatomy which has benefited many
- We also discovered a new disease namely, chronic silent otitis media, in which the
disease hides behind an intact tympanic membrane.
- Another research finding which helps patients is middle ear/inner ear interaction,
which means infection in the middle ear can spread into the inner ear and cause nerve deafness or dizziness.
- A new conservative operation called intact bridge tympanomastoidectomy (IBM)
- A variety of techniques have also evolved to better diagnose and treat otitis media
Research has lead to new methods of diagnosis and treatment for the various
forms of otitis media which has helped thousands of patients.
Call us at 612-339-2836 or toll-free at 866-316-0769 to refer your patient for an appointment, or submit an online referral.