Microsuction is the safest form of removing ear wax and other debris from the ear. It uses gentle suction from a regulated medical suction pump, as opposed to the old-fashioned syringing or irrigation that flushes the ear with high pressure water.
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What is Microsuction?
Microsuction is the safest form of removing ear wax and other debris from the ear. It uses gentle suction from a regulated medical suction pump, as opposed to the old-fashioned syringing or irrigation that flushes the ear with high pressure water. The microsuction practitioner uses stereoscopic microscopes, also known as surgical loupes, and a bright light source in order to gain a magnified view of the procedure. This way the microsuction professional can see exactly what he or she is doing and carry out the procedure safely.
People look for a private microsuction clinic for many reasons:
- It's Fast - some people would prefer not to have to put olive oil in their ear for two to three weeks prior to seeing a practice nurse to have their ear syringed. Others have deeply impacted ear wax and have been told they will have to wait from weeks to months for an NHS microsuction appointment at their local hospital. Microsuction can remove wax without having to wait weeks, although it is recommended to apply Earol spray for one or two days to pre-soften the wax.
- It's Comfortable - Many people don't like the sensation of having their ear syringed with water or find it uncomfortable. Microsuction doesn't introduce any water into the ear - it uses gentle suction, which most people find preferable.
- It's Safe - People who prize their hearing highly and don't want to risk getting a perforated ear drum from syringing choose microsuction because of it's inherent safety, compared to syringing or irrigation. According to the NHS website (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Earwax/Pages/Complications.aspx) complications of ear irrigation may include: infection of the external ear canal (otitis externa), middle ear infection (otitis media), a perforated eardrum, damage to the ear canal, ear pain, vertigo, and/or worsening of pre-existing tinnitus. In contrast, according to the NHS website (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Earwax/Pages/Treatment.aspx) the microsuction procedure is "quick, safe and painless, and it doesn't involve putting liquid into your ear".
What Can I Expect From Microsuction?
A typical session will last up to half an hour for two ears, depending on how hard or impacted the ear wax has become. If the wax has been pre-softened, then the procedure is typically more comfortable and can be completed in less time. Normally one session is enough for two ears, unless the wax is very impacted, very longstanding, or hasn't been pre-softened, in which case a second appointment is sometimes required. If the ear has been completely blocked for some time, then once the wax blockage has been removed sounds may appear louder than usual, but the ears will soon adjust to the new level. If a hearing loss was present prior to the procedure, then microsuction will not restore normal hearing and a hearing assessment will be recommended. Many clinics offer a free hearing screening at the microsuction appointment, although a full hearing assessment will normally require a longer appointment.
Who Can Perform Microsuction?
Microsuction can be performed by ENT surgeons, or doctors, nurses and Audiologists who have received appropriate training and certification in the procedure. Microsuction practitioners should be registered with their appropriate regulating body, i.e. the General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council or the Health and Care Professions Council, which you can find at the following websites:
You should look for a microsuction professional who is registered with their appropriate regulating body and who has the necessary professional indemnity insurance to carry out the procedure. It is also a good idea to check if they have any positive testimonials from satisfied clients.
Our Microsuction description was kindly supplied by Jason Levy.
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