A 3-year old female and her 4-year old brother present to the emergency department with their mother. The mother reports she is sure the 3-year old put something in her brother’s ear. They just came from another emergency department who reported that they could not see anything in the boy’s ear.
There is a clear bead in the ear canal.
You can see the bead channel pointing slightly down. Since putting the bead in her brother’s ear worked so well, the 3-year-old also decided to put a bead in her ear.
Her bead is embedded in ear wax.
Foreign body – bead in sister’s ear
Sharing images with parents and colleagues is a key advantage of the Wispr digital otoscope. The geometry of the speculum with the distal camera allows remarkable access to the ear canal and the tympanic membrane (eardrum). In the case of a pediatric ear foreign body, you generally get one chance to remove the object before the child becomes uncooperative. In the case of the male, the bead was successfully removed with suction in the emergency department. In the case of the female, removal in the emergency department failed. The child had to be sedated for removal by ENT. Removal is not painful, but the child does have to remain still so that secondary trauma to the ear does not occur.
WiscMed has created a presentation on normal ear anatomy that can be viewed here.