June 19, 2010

Strange But True (And Disgusting) Stories in ENT

True Story #1

There was an ENT named Dr. Lloyd Storrs of Lubbock, TX. He used to save all the earwax he removed from patients. With the collected earwax, he would heat it to melt it, strain it, cool it down, and then heat it again to make an unique earwax solution he would give to patients suffering from ear canal seborrhea with cerumen. Only 2 drops per week worked.

Strange but true... in fact, he wrote a paper about it. Read it here.

True Story #2

Earwax, by the way, is often a tasty treat for cats! And I do have a few patients who request that I save the earwax I remove from their ears so they can feed their cat with it.

True Story #3

Back in the day, ENTs would harvest cartilage taken from noses (septoplasty) as well as middle ear bones from ears (cholesteatoma surgery) and save them in the lab or locker. The harvested cartilage and bone was than "reused" at a later time to repair defects in patients who needed extra cartilage or middle ear repair.

Of course, nowadays, we no longer recycle ENT parts like this like we used to.

True Story #4

Leeches are often used after certain major head and neck surgery in order to prevent clots from forming in the surgical site. In fact, there are "medical grade" leeches which are sold by companies specifically for this purpose.

Here is one paper describing medical use of leeches.

True Story #5

Maggots are sometimes used to remove necrotic tissue from wounds in order to allow healthy tissue growth.

Here is a paper describing this mode of treatment.

If you have any other strange but true ENT stories, comment below!
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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