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Chronic Ear Infections
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jsmjns posted:
Hi,

My 18 year old son has had chronic ear infections since birth. He has had numerous sets of tubes inserted and felt better temporarily. Now he has tinnitus in both ears. In addition, his one ear is severely retracted with a hole in the eardrum. Local doctor can't insert another tube and sent us to U of PA. Doctor there just want to watch for cholesteatomas with ct scans. He just had one in six months ago. Doctor was not happy with the low radiation scan and wants another one. First of all, I'm very worried abou the radiation for someone his age. So, we plan on going for another opinion. Is continuous ct scans the only option he has as per this highly regarded doctor from a highly regarded hospital?

Thank you......
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
Recently, there has been some criticism in the medical community about the overuse of CT scans, mostly through emergency rooms. You come in with a head injury...CT scan. Abdominal pain? CT scan. You name it; they scan it.

With that said, I don't think that a CT scan every six months to rule out a cholesteatoma (assuming the examination finding justify it), is really "too much". The only alternative would be an invasive inspection using a fiberoptic scope, so many people would prefer a the x-ray exposure rather than head to the surgery center.

Share your concerns of over-exposure to xrays with the ENT so that you can be on the same page. This way, only the most essential examinations can be done. There is nothing magic about "six months", so perhaps one a year would be sufficient, but it would be best to follow the recommendation of the expert when it comes to cholesteatomas.