Otoscopy | Diseases and conditions: Medical tests.

What is the Otoscopy

Otoscopy is a type of medical examination, which consists of the examination of the ear from the hole in the ear canal, which is in the ear. Through it we can see all the inner conduit and the tympanic membrane. If we are lucky we can see structures through the eardrum by translucency, as the ossicular chain. The test is performed directly the doctor, with the help of a small device called an Otoscope.
The Otoscope is the length of a ballpoint pen, with a thickness of 2 cm and one end has a hollow head. One end of the head is thin and is inserted into the ear, another has a transparent lens and inside the ear is seen through it. To view the area well head has a small internal light. It is a relatively cheap device that can be used many times and is all basic queries of any pediatrician or family doctor.
It is a painless, easy-to-perform test and that provides us much valuable information to make decisions. For example, can be diagnosed infections of the inner ear, the eardrum breaks or tumors, among many other things. In young children, it is more difficult to make because they are easily frightened and usually move to prevent the Otoscope. Any doctor can perform the test, but more experienced physicians are family doctors, pediatricians and otolaryngologists, because they are those who perform the test daily to many people.
Occasionally, when it is not enough to make a simple otoscopy, or where this indicates that something is not going well, should be assessed the use of other more complex and more advanced such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging techniques. Precise images of the inside of the ear will be with them. However the otoscopy is still the first choice to study ear for its simplicity and useful.

When doing an otoscopy

The ear by otoscopy exam serves to diagnose diseases that affect segment external and middle ear. It also allows to study the evolution of the disease toward improvement or worsening. Diseases in which it is intended to perform an otoscopy are:
Infection of the outer ear: the ear is inflamed, red and painful.
Infection of the middle ear: the ear drum is red and inflamed, in addition you can see bubbles through it because it will be filled with exudate or pus.
Cholesteatoma: it is a benign tumor but that locally destroys the ear, you can see the perforated eardrum and gnawed chunks of bone.
Head injuries: when a blow to the skull is very intense bones which form the ear canal can fracture. A step or hemorrhages in the skin of the Canal can be seen with the Otoscope.
Perforation of the eardrum: directly seen a hole in the eardrum. It can be drilled by an infection or tumor, but the most frequent remain hygienic canes for the ears.
Insects: it is not rare that some insect among the ear through causing itching or pain. With the otoscopy is directly.
Plug of wax: ear wax can accumulate inside the ear and form plugs. The best way to prevent them is to not introduce swabs or other objects, ear wax is removed by itself only.

Preparation for an otoscopy

If you are performing an otoscopy these are issues you must keep in mind to go properly prepared to test:
Duration: the otoscopy takes very little time, just a few minutes. This is done in the context of a medical consultation during a general exploration.
Income: the otoscopy is performed on an outpatient basis. It is not necessary to enter for this test.
Is necessary to be accompanied?: no, can you the test only. It is not painful or prevent you after you leave your own foot.
Drugs: no need to take any prior medication. Medicines that you are taking very seldom can affect this test. Only communicates to the doctor if it is throwing topical antibiotics in the form of drops for ears or other medications.
Food: don't need to keep fasting or take care with some food in particular.
Clothes: you can keep the appointment with any type of clothing.
Documents: don't need to take any special documentation.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: is a test that can be performed safely during pregnancy and lactation.
Contraindications: there are no real contraindications. It is usually to avoid the test to people recently operated ear, but it is not always a contraindication. Your doctor know how to intervene properly to carry out the test without unnecessary risks.

How an otoscopy

When you get to the doctor to make you an otoscopy, will execute you some general questions about your state of health and discomfort for the consultations. When finished it will begin to explore you part by part of the body. If your discomfort is focused on your ears you will go directly to explore them. It will first feel the ear and ear canal nearby, if they are painful could indicate a local infection.
Then you will use the Otoscope to explore you the Canal and middle ear. Sometimes it is necessary that the doctor turn off query light so the only light that receives either the Otoscope and approach correctly the ear. It will introduce the end of the head through the hole in the ear, while you gently pull the ear upwards and backwards, so duct auditory straightens and can explore more comfortably. It can be a bit annoying, but you will not notice pain unless you have a local infection.
The first thing the doctor will look at is the appearance of the ear canal. It is normal to be covered with a pink skin, with some fine hairs and remnants of wax. If there is an infection the skin will be more reddened, swollen and there will be more amount of ear wax. If there is a plug of wax you will not be beyond him, and if there is an insect or another object will directly.
Then it will scan the eardrum, which is the most delicate part of the exploration. You will need to check that it is not convex, red or swollen. The doctor will make sure that structures are kept in their proper position, the most important are: the cone of light (where the light is reflected), the handle of the hammer (which is inserted the ossicular chain) and the flabby part (thin part that ignites easily).
Once seen an ear doctor will take out the Otoscope and cleaned it, then it will be to explore the other ear to compare. He will repeat the same scan in a meticulous way and when you have finished already you can leave paragraph Otoscope. It will be then when you say if you see something suspicious or that worries him. If you can you diagnose a disease and will propose you a treatment. If the pathology is more complex you can request further testing or you will derive the Otolaryngologist for a surgical treatment or other options.

Complications of the otoscopy

Serious complications in the otoscopy are not very frequent. Some that occur after are:
Irritation of the ear canal with pain, which is often the case when there is a local infection.
I contagion from an ear infection to another, which prevents to properly clean the Otoscope.
Perforation of the eardrum, which is uncommon because the end of the head is very short.

Results of the examination of the otoscopy

Otoscopy enables note to physician the outer ear and part of the ear in real time, by proving it can be interpreted immediately and give a successful diagnosis. The doctor tends to draw up a report in which describe all changes if any, along with the rest of the physical examination.
The results of a hearing test report will describe all parties explored. The essential parts have to describe are the external ear canal and eardrum. Today the doctor can attach the report photographs of the otoscopy, although that alone is usually done when it is necessary to any disease of the ear, usually by an Otolaryngologist who have more sophisticated otoscopes narrow track.
With the otoscopy doctor can confirm or discard suspected local infections or tumors. If it can provide you immediate treatment will do so, but sometimes necessary consultation with other specialist for further testing or schedule more advanced treatments, such as surgery.
When it is not possible to diagnose the disease through an otoscopy they can turn to other techniques depending on what you want to study. You can be a computed tomography (CT) that allows to obtain images in cut around the skull with very precise images of the bones or MRI that is equally useful on occasions.
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