Case: Total ear canal ablation

We regularly get cases referred for total ear canal ablation (TECA) surgery. The external ear canal is removed but the ear flap is preserved. When we do  a TECA it is also necessary to remove a substantial portion of the middle ear.

Reasons for TECA include problems like chronic infection, tumours, or occasionally trauma.  Where the problem is chronic infection, it often affects both ears and we can often do both TECAs under one anaesthetic to shorten convalescence  and to reduce costs. It can be really surprising how much happier these patients are after their surgery, which shows what chronic pain they must have been in beforehand.

Complications which we occasionally encounter include wound breakdown and nerve problems (which are usually temporary) with loss of blinking on the affected side or a condition called Horner’s syndrome which involves a small pupil, a droopy eyelid and protrusion of the “3rd eyelid”.

There is a section of fact sheets on this website in the section for owners that includes an information sheet outlining the various common ear surgeries, and an instruction sheet for post-operative care.

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