Ear tubes are a common procedure that many children experience. In fact, over one million ear tube surgeries are performed in the United States each year. This means that nearly 1 in 15 children in the US will receive ear tubes before turning 3 years old.
What are Ear Tubes?
An ear tube is used most often to provide long-term drainage and ventilation to middle ears that have had persistent fluid buildup, chronic middle ear infections or frequent infections.
Ear tubes provide an alternative airway to keep the air in the middle ear refreshed, allow for drainage and equalize the pressure inside the ear with air pressure outside the body.
What are common concerns surrounding Ear Tubes?
As parents evaluate whether or not their child will need ear tubes, concerns do arise. One reason many are hesitant is due to the general anesthesia (putting their child to sleep) required to complete the surgery in an operating room. Another concern is how long the ear tubes will last and if their child will require another set of ear tubes and exposure to general anesthesia, which occurs in 30-40% of patients. However, these concerns are generally outweighed by the ongoing challenges with multiple ear infections, antibiotic medications, and interrupted sleep.
Is there an alternative procedure for ear tubes?
Yes! Preceptis Medical, the developer of the Hummingbird procedure, is simplifying the traditional ear tube procedure. The Hummingbird Procedure eliminates the need to visit a hospital operating room and putting your child under general anesthesia. The company, Preceptis Medical, was founded to develop devices that simplify procedures and reduce general anesthesia exposure for young children.
The Hummingbird Device has been used with just over 1,000 patients in the United States and has a 99% success rate at completing the procedure in the office. The procedure is done in under 5 minutes, and the child can immediately return to normal activities following the procedure. If the procedure cannot be completed in the office, the child is rescheduled for the traditional operating room procedure. The Hummingbird is being used under a limited launch primarily in the Midwest, and Minnesota children are among the first in the country to have access.
From a Parent’s Perspective | Chelsea and Devon Steinmeyer
What were your initial concerns and thoughts about moving forward with traditional ear tube procedures and how did The Hummingbird address those concerns and apprehensions?
Our initial concerns centered around the need to use general anesthesia on our kids along with having to ask our (always reasonable) kids to fast prior to the procedure. Additionally, the time and cost associated with traditional ear tubes was not necessarily a concern, but it was an added detractor to the process. The Hummingbird allowed for a quick in office procedure that did not require general anesthesia.
What was your overall experience with The Hummingbird and how do you believe it compared to conventional surgery?
We had a great experience with both of our kids that have had The Hummingbird procedure. Both kids cried during the procedure but it was short lived and much better than the alternative of waking up from general anesthesia. Both kids were up and playing around almost immediately following the procedure.
If another parent asked you for your opinion and perspective on The Hummingbird, what comes to mind and how would you respond?
It is a no brainer to give The Hummingbird a try. The procedure is easy and although there are some concerns that the kids will be impacted by the procedure, we have not seen this be the case and even it was the case, we truly believe that it is a better than using general anesthesia on small children.
From a Doctor’s Perspective | Dr. Shelagh Cofer of the Mayo Clinic
What has your experience been like using The Hummingbird and how has it contrasted to traditional ear tube placement?
Using The Hummingbird to place ear tubes in clinic has been a great experience! It is very doable and quick. It integrates into the workflow and my staff enjoys participating in providing this service for our patients. It’s a definite advancement and the future of ear tube placement for some kids.
What do you perceive the greatest benefits to be in using The Hummingbird in the office setting?
Ease of procedure for selected patients, convenience for patients and families, safe and cost effective treatment option.
What has the parent reaction and response been to this alternative treatment option?
Overwhelmingly positive! They are so grateful for the option to be seen in clinic AND often have their child’s ear tubes placed the same day in clinic. They appreciate not having to take more time off work and to not have their child fast and undergo anesthesia as well. Most say they would choose to do office ear tubes again.