Hearing Services

Video Otoscopic Exam

Video otoscopy is the use of an otoscope (this is an instrument used to look in the ears) that has a very tiny video camera that transmits images to a television screen. 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.

Why we do video otoscopy?

The video otoscope allows the doctor 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 doctor can not 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.

How we do video otoscopy?

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

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