NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The cure for clogged ears might lie in the Hub City.
Michael S. Goldrich, a physician at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, recently performed the first Acclarent Eera eustachian tube balloon dilation in New Jersey.
The procedure treats “chronic obstruction” of the ear, which is called eustachian tube dysfunction. That condition occurs in 1 percent of adults and more frequently in kids. It causes clogging, ringing, pain, pressure and even hearing loss, according to the hospital.
“This is an exciting moment for patients with chronically clogged ears,” Goldrich said in a written statement.
Before the federal Food and Drug Administration approved the procedure last September, people with the condition relied on treatments that didn’t “correct the underlying problem,” according to the hospital.
Previous methods involved decongesting the nose and placing a ventilation tube in the eardrum.
According to Robert Wood Johnson, those tactics sometimes caused patients to develop chronic symptoms, infections and long-term complications like the buildup of fluid in the middle ear.
Balloon dilation “offers patients the potential to fully resolve their problem, rather than just managing it,” Goldrich said.
Hospital officials described the procedure as “minimally invasive.” When performing it, doctors insert a ballon catheter through the nose that then expands the eustachian tube.
As of now, patients must be at least 22 years old to undergo the procedure.
Robert Wood Johnson offers the treatment in New Brunswick.