AERA is a quick (usually only 15 minutes) permanent procedure that corrects ETD by inserting a balloon into the eustachian tube and inflating it. The procedure has an astounding 99.7% success rate in clinical trials.
Samuel Medaris, MD and Stanley Schack, MD have been trained and are currently performing the AERA eustachian tube balloon dilations. This can be done as a stand alone procedure, or in conjuction with temporary myringotomy or temporary ear tubes depending on the severity of disease.
The Eustachian tube is a narrow tube which links the back of the nose to the middle ear. It is normally closed but opens when we swallow, yawn or chew. It has three main functions: to protect the middle ear from sources of disease, to ventilate the middle ear, and to help drain secretions away from the middle
Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is the inability of the Eustachian tube to adequately perform these functions and failure of the valve of the Eustachian tube to open and/or close properly. 2
ETD (Eustachian tube dysfunction) is estimated to effect up to 5% of the adult population.3
Symptoms and causes:
Normally, the Eustachian tubes are working properly so you don’t notice them at all. Anything that prevents the tube from opening can cause Eustachian tube dysfunction. Eustachian tube dysfunction 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. 1
When they are not working properly, the patient can possibly feel the following symptoms: muffled hearing, fullness of the ear, pain in the ear, inability to equilibrate middle ear (ME) pressure, tinnitus, and dizziness.4
Complications from untreated ETD:
Persistent Eustachian Tube Dysfunction can be associated with several serious conditions.
Long-term ETD has been associated with damage to the middle ear and the eardrum. 1
Otitis media with effusion, atelectasis of the ME, adhesive otitis, perforation of eardrum and Cholestetoma.4
If you or someone you know suffers from ETD (eustachian tube dysfunction) or has ear tubes or needs tubes regularly, please Contact Us to learn more about how the AERA procedure can be your permanent solution 402-778-5250!
***Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and United Healthcare are currently not providing coverage for this procedure. Although the procedure is FDA approved for operating room use and has been studied and proven effective, these insurance companies still view eustachian tube dilations as investigational. Cost associated with this can be discussed with our business office at 402-778-5250. Patients with these insurances interested in this life-changing procedure MUST fill out and return the following form prior to surgery: ABN for Eustachian Tube Dilations. Failure to have this form on file prior to scheduled surgery could result in cancellation or rescheduling of your surgery.
1 Llewellyn, A., Norman, G., Harden, M., Coatesworth, A., Kimberling, D., Schilder, A. and McDaid, C. (2014). Interventions for adult Eustachian tube dysfunction: a systematic review. HEALTH TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT, 18; 1-180. 2 Grimmer, J.F., & Poe, D.S. Update on Eustachian Tube Dysfunction and the Patulous Eustachian Tube. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head and Heck Surg, 13: 277-282.
3 Ockermann, T., Reineke, U., Upile, T., Ebmeyer, F., Sudhoff, H.H. (2010). Balloon Dilatation Eustachian Tuboplasty: A Clinical Study. Laryngoscope, 120:1411–1416. 4 Randrup, T.S. & Ovesen, T. (2015) Balloon Eustachian Tuboplasty: A Systematic Review. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 152(3); 383–392.