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August 1968

Water-Tight Aeration Plug for Indwelling Tympanic Membrane Tubes

Author Affiliations

From Otolaryngology Service, US Army Tripler General Hospital, Honolulu. Dr. Silverstein is now at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;88(2):210. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00770010212025

THE PROBLEM of secretory otitis media is being successfully treated with indwelling tympanic membrane tubes. Their success demands free communication between external and middle ear. Unfortunately this allows, on occasion, contamination of the middle ear space by water with subsequent acute otitis media. Therefore, patients wearing indwelling tubes have been asked not to swim and to use caution when showering.

A devise to allow aeration but not contamination was needed. It was found that small holes placed in polyethylene would allow the passage of air but not water. A water-tight aeration plug was designed. The plug is made in the following manner: a No. 90 polyethylene tubing is tapered using an alcohol lamp. A 1-cm segment is heated on one end and then sealed by compressing with a hemostat. About ten holes are then made in the wall of the tubing with stapedectomy straight pick (Fig 1). The plug

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