We have partnered with Fairview Health Services to bring you a first-person account of the all-new Hummingbird ear tube device. While this post is sponsored, all experiences and opinions are 100% our own.
After multiple ear infections in a short period of time, we were asked to look into putting ear tubes in for one of our sons, and he had them put in at nine months old through Fairview. It’s a major decision to make, in my opinion, because you want the little one to stop having to feel the pain and uncomfortable feeling of that recurring ear infection, yet it’s scary because you normally have to put them under general anesthesia, which I think for any parent is nerve wracking, especially at a young age.
If you have been through it, you know they ask if you want to be there while they put your child to sleep. For his young age, they recommended we not be in the room because it’s tough to see your child go through that for some parents. We agreed that we would not need to be there and were out in the waiting room the entire procedure.
We lucked out with how easy it was for him to go through everything, but every child is different. What would you do if you knew there may be other options outside of doing general anesthesia?
Fairview Maple Grove Ambulatory Surgery Center recently started clinical trials for a new device made by Preciptis Medical called the Hummingbird TTS. It is an all in one device that allows the placement of the ear tubes in one smooth motion versus the standard tubes that need three different tools and multiple passes through the ear canal for placement.
This new technology provides an option for children to be able to be under conscious sedation throughout the procedure which could help speed up recovery time.
The nurses and anesthesiologists have been trained, and as a team, have the knowledge and understanding of how to complete it with minimal anesthetic gasses.
As a parent, this is something I wish I had the option to look at four years ago when Quincy had to get ear tubes. I was given the opportunity to ask Dr. Shafiei some questions to get his perspective on the procedure and how this option could work for parents considering ear tubes.
1. Why did you decide to participate in the clinical trial for the Hummingbird device at Fairview?
The trial for the Hummingbird device seemed to fit well with my practice as a general otolaryngologist as the expected result from a successful trial would be adding a less invasive option for performing an extremely common procedure. I thought that my participation in the trial would enhance comfort with sedation procedures in my practice and the operative facility.
2. What is the length of time from when patient gets checked in to when procedure is completed to when patient is checked out and on their way home?
Generally, patients arrive around 45 minutes prior to the procedure start time. The procedure itself usually takes around 10 minutes, but in sedation cases the team will monitor and adjust the pace to account for the patient’s level and stage of sedation. Wake-up times are usually around 10 minutes, and the patient can be discharged within 30 minutes of the procedure, depending on their status. The Hummingbird seems to help the patient recover a bit faster.
3. Are there any complications that could come from this device or procedure?
In clinical trials of the device, the complication rates from using the device were not different from the conventional method of performing bilateral myringotomy tubes.
4. Are there any health concerns that a patient could have that you would not recommend this device and sedation procedure to a parent?
Sometimes a patient may have an eardrum that is sucked inward due to their eustachian tube dysfunction. If this is severe, there may not be sufficient room to cut through the eardrum using the Hummingbird device and avoid impacting upon some structures in the middle ear. These cases are challenging regardless of the device used, and will often do better under general anesthesia. Also, some patients may not be good sedation candidates if they have a high degree of anxiety prior to the procedure and are not readily calmed by relaxation techniques typically used by staff during sedation procedures. With all Hummingbird TTS sedation cases at Fairview, converting to general anesthesia is always an option to complete the procedure.
5. What is the youngest age you would recommend for this procedure?
I typically perform myringotomy tubes on children as young as 9 months, and I do not see any problem with using the Hummingbird or sedation in children that young.
More options the better in my opinion. Knowing what is out there and what may work better for you and your children is always something I strive to make sure I am following. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find alternatives because your child’s best interest is the most important when it comes to health care decisions.