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Trick of the Trade: Ear foreign body

Posted May 22 2012 12:00am
Bead in external ear canal

Sometimes classic techniques need to be revisited, especially when I get new photos from the collective readership. Let's review a painless way to remove beads from the ear canal. You can't exactly have the patient's provider blow in the other ear to expulse the bead, similar to a nasal foreign body...

Trick of the Trade (revisisted) Remove non-organic foreign bodies from the ear using a tissue adhesive

Back in 2010, I discussed how a few drops of a tissue adhesive on the end of wooden Q-tip stick can be used to attach to the foreign body. After waiting 20-30 seconds to let the glue dry, gently pull out the foreign body.

Dr. Edward Lew (PGY-2 EM resident from Cook County) recently shared with me his success story in a bead extraction. Instead of a Q-tip stick, he used a plastic ear pick with the tip cut off to provide a flat surface for the tissue adhesive. Nice job!

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