An innovative new procedure to relieve pressure in ears is being offered at HMT Sancta Maria Hospital. Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon, Mr Ameeth Sanu, is the first surgeon in the private sector in Wales to offer Eustachian Tube Dilation. The first patient to receive the treatment from Mr Sanu was Gareth Evans from the Swansea Valley.
Mr Evans had previously undergone a number of surgical procedures on his ear. He had a hole in his ear drum and a narrow, sealed eustachian tube leading to constant discharge and frequent infections in his left ear. The eustachian tube is a small passageway that connects your throat to your middle ear. Fluid was unable to drain into Mr Evans’s throat and was leaking out of his ear. He was also experiencing hearing loss and decided to seek medical advice. Mr Evans was referred to Mr Sanu at HMT Sancta Maria Hospital and was an ideal candidate for this new procedure.
He explains: “Mr Sanu examined me, looking at my nose and throat with a camera and explained that I would benefit from this new procedure to help open up my eustachian tube. The procedure would clear the infection I had been suffering with and stop it from returning.
“My medical insurance covered me and we were able to set a date for the surgery quite quickly. Mr Sanu had recently trained to perform this new procedure and was accompanied by a representative from the balloon manufacturers to help set up the dilator. The entire procedure was very successful and I was treated as a day case. My recovery was swift and I haven’t had any further infections in my ear since.
“I saw Mr Sanu at the new Sancta Maria Hospital in SA1. Having had previous surgeries at their old hospital in Uplands I appreciated the new, modern surroundings. It’s everything that you hope a new private hospital would be.”
Eustachian Tube Dilation uses a small balloon to open up a pathway for mucus and air to pass through the eustachian tube. The balloon is inserted into the Eustachian tube through the nose and once inflated the balloon opens up the tube and restores function. The balloon is removed when the tube is dilated. People with blocked eustachian tubes can suffer from eustacian tube dysfunction (ETD). ETD can lead to pressure in the ears, crackling in the ears and a in some instances it can cause reduced hearing. It can feel like you are permanently suffering from the type of blocked ears that are common during and after travelling on aeroplanes.
Mr Sanu adds: “I am delighted that Mr Evans’s procedure was successful. ETD can be painful and problematic, leading to hearing loss and blocked ears. If left untreated it can cause damage to the middle ear and eardrum. The new balloon procedure is effective and is usually treated as a day case. It is therefore an excellent option for eligible patients. Mr Evans is now six months post-operation and is experiencing the benefits, with no recurring ear infections and an improvement in his quality of life.”
The procedure is now available at HMT Sancta Maria Hospital in SA1. The newly opened hospital offers a range of ENT treatments and benefits from on-site parking, step-free access, an advanced diagnostic suite, dedicated day units and en-suite patient bedrooms.
Mr Sanu is an experienced ENT surgeon with a specialist interest in ear surgery. He is the president of the Welsh Endoscopic Otology Society which takes him around the work learning new techniques for minimally invasive keyhole ear surgery.