Removal of Cerumen and its Complications: a Systematic Review of the Literature

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2010.0236

german translation / full article

Guido Schmiemann, Carsten Kruschinski

Keywords: earwax cerumen removal auditory canal syringing complication rate literature review

Background: Cerumen impaction is – often due to the concomitant hearing impairment – known as a frequent problem in family practice. Apart from cerumentolytic agents, more invasive methods are frequently used for treatment (ear syringing, mechanical removal). The aim of the present review was to describe the frequency of all kinds of complications following the different methods of removal of cerumen.

Methods: Systematic review of the literature and analysis of data from the German arbitration boards (Schlichtungsstellen).

Results: Severe complications such as perforations of the tympanic membrane were observed in up to 1 % of the cases and were slightly more common after syringing. Complications were often caused by inadequate preparation (poor patient information or training of staff members).

Conclusions: In order to avoid errors not caused by the method itself, a specific quality management could be helpful.

(State: 30.05.2011)

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