On-Demand Dissolvable Ear Tube

Key Personnel

  • Brian Reilly, MD 
  • Matthieu Dumont, PhD

Synopsis
Ear tube insertion is the placement of a pressure equalizer tube into the tympanic membrane of the middle ear. In the United States, ear tube insertion is the most commonly performed surgical procedure in children.

Although the current generation of tubes is beneficial for the treatment of otitis media, there are two major complications with this procedure: Failure of the ear tube to extrude within 24 months of insertion requiring a procedure under general anesthesia to remove the tube safely, and permanent perforation of the ear drum from extended presence of the tube.

Researchers found that 21,446 ear tubes needed to be removed surgically in 2006, or roughly 3.8 percent of tubes placed. Thus, there is a clear, unmet need for an ear tube that can be removed safely, eliminating the need for a second surgery, while maintaining integrity throughout the duration of the desired implant lifetime.

We have created an ear tube using a biocompatible material that can dissolve shortly on contact with our uniquely engineered ear drops. This novel design will eliminate the need for secondary surgeries to remove ear tubes that are no longer medically necessary, as well as secondary hearing loss from tympanostomy tubes.