Foreign bodies of the external auditory canal in children
Objective: To carry out a retrospective analysis of children with foreign bodies of the external auditory canal (EAC).
Patients and Methods: A total of 120 children up to the age of 14 years with foreign bodies of the external auditory canal. Demographic data recorded included the patient's age and gender, the type of foreign body encountered, and how the object was successfully removed. The duration of the foreign bodies present in the EAC was also recorded when available.
Results: The commonest objects were beads and insects. The commonest presentation was local pain, found in 49% of cases. Other means of presentation include verbal admission by the child (31.3%), an incident witnessed by the caregiver (7%), bleeding from the ear (4%), ear discharge (2.8%), fever (1.4%), tinnitus (1.1%), and others (3.4%). 34 patients (28.3%) required surgical removal under general anaesthesia. Of these 34 patients, 20 (70.6%) were below the age of 5 years. Morbidity included 7 canal lacerations and abrasions, 4 tympanic membrane perforation, 3 trauma-induced cases of otitis externa.
Conclusion: Adequate immobilization of the child and proper use of instruments provides an uncomplicated removal of many of these foreign bodies in the age group. General anaesthesia is considered in very young children and in children of any age with certain foreign bodies whose contour, composition, or location within the external ear canal can lead to traumatic removal in the ambulatory setting.
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