The Acclarent Aera Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation System is the first device in the US indicated to dilate the Eustachian tube. This system uses a small balloon to treat persistent Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) a condition that can cause pressure, pain, clogged or muffled sensations in the ear.
Your trained physician uses a catheter to insert a small balloon through the nose and into the Eustachian tube. The balloon is then inflated, opening up (dilating) a pathway for mucus and air to flow more normally, helping to restore proper Eustachian tube function. The balloon is deflated and after dilation and then removed.
The Eustachian tube is a narrow tube that links the back of the nose to the middle ear. It is normally closed but opens when we swallow, yawn or chew. Its main three functions are: to protect the middle ear from sources of disease, to ventilate the middle ear (equalize pressure) and to help drain secretions away from the middle ear.
Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is the inability of the Eustachian tube to adequately perform these functions and the failure of the valve of the Eustachian tube to open and/or close properly.
ETD is estimated to affect up to 5% of the adult population.
Symptoms and causes:
ETD may occur when the mucosal lining of the tube is swollen or does not open or close properly. It can occur after the start of a cold and other nose, sinus, ear and throat infections.
Symptoms of ETD can include muffled hearing, fullness in the ear, ear pain, and inability to equalize middle ear pressure, tinnitus and even dizziness.
Complications from untreated ETD can include damage to the middle ear and eardrum, otitis media with effusion, atelectasis of the middle ear, adhesive otitis, eardrum perforation and even cholesteatoma.