These scopes use fiber optics to transmit a very bright light that illuminates the ear canal. In addition, video otoscopes have a working channel that allows the ear to be irrigated and vacuumed dry to help remove debris that can cover important structures or changes within the ear. The channel can also be used by instruments that can grab objects or tissue samples for cleaning or diagnostic purposes. We can take and print digital images of anything we find within the ear canal. The video otoscope allows the hearing and medical professionals to see in the ear much better than a traditional hand held otoscope.
With the irrigating function, debris can be cleaned deep within the ear that would be impossible to remove any other way. With handheld scopes, the the hearing and medical professionals cannot see through any fluid in the canal (the light just reflects off the surface of any liquid), but the video otoscope can “see underwater” making observation and diagnosis much better. This makes the video otoscope very valuable when cleaning a very dirty ear (deep ear flushing). The video otoscope is also the best instrument for flushing behind a ruptured tympanic membrane (ear drum) and for diagnosing and biopsying tumors in the ear canal. The video otoscope can be used just like any otoscope for routine examinations, but is often employed in diagnostic or cleaning procedures for diseased ears. Usually patients are anesthetized for these types of procedures for two reasons.
First, when working near the ear drum, the patient must hold completely still to prevent damage to the delicate structures in the ear. Second, because the ear canal can have a direct connection to the throat (via the Eustachian tube), irrigating flush could get into the lungs causing pneumonia, so patients must have an endotracheal tube inserted to protect the airway during these procedures. Video otoscopy is a very safe procedure. Common side effects include sedation for up to 24 hours after the procedure (due to the anesthesia). There may be increased irritation or bleeding in the ear canals for up to 72 hours after video otoscopy (depending on if biopsies are taken or not). Rare side effects include decreased hearing after a procedure, paralysis of the nerves controlling the eye and face on the side of the procedure, or dizziness due to irritation or damage to the balance center of the inner ear. These are often temporary and go away in a few weeks, but they can be permanent.
The safest medications and best monitoring tools are used while pet is anesthetized, but no anesthetic procedure is completely risk free. Very rarely, patients can have unexpected, serious, even life threatening, side effects during anesthesia. Fortunately, all of these events are very rare. Video otoscopy’s benefit is that it is often the safest, most cost effective and best method for diagnosing and treating serious ear diseases. Video otoscope patient’s ear images and videos are simply captured with just a touch of a button and can be transferred seamlessly to a laptop or PC. These images and videos can easily be archived for later viewing. See it. Share it. Save it. Offering clear live and still images of the ear canal and tympanic membrane, the Digital Video otoscope is a valuable tool to support the treatment and management of patient's ear conditions. Visualize conditions like otitis media, share images with family members or other physicians, and save still images to your patient's electronic chart or health record to track progression. A great tool for the hearing and medical professionals, pediatricians, clinical educators, and anyone who regularly performs otoscopy.