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Relief for ear pressure

Shannon brings new Eustachian tube procedure to West Texas

Everyone has most likely experienced the

sensation of pressure in their ears. Many

people are familiar with this feeling as a

symptom of sinus or allergy problems. If you

have ever flown on an airplane, your ears may

have had trouble equalizing during takeoff

and landing. You might feel as if you’re in a

barrel and everything you hear is muffled.

This feeling causes mild discomfort, but

normally goes away within a few minutes.

But some people are never able to find relief.

A new procedure, Acclarent Aera™ eusta-

chian tube balloon dilation, is now available

at Shannon Clinic to help patients who have

problems with ear pressurization.

The eustachian tubes, which connect the

inner ear to the back of the throat behind the

nasal passages, are responsible for ventilation

and equalization of pressure on each side of

the eardrum. The tubes also drain fluids and

debris from the middle ear. Inflammation

and mucus buildup can cause blockage and

obstruct proper drainage, causing fluid to

accumulate in the middle ear.

“This is a constant problem for some

people, especially those in our area who

experience sinus and allergy issues,” says

David Huchton, MD, Shannon Clinic ENT.

“We can control their other symptoms really

well. We can fix the sinuses by opening them

with balloon sinuplasty, and allergies can

be controlled with shots, but there are still

problems with the eustachian tubes, and they

feel like their ears will never pop. Others also

experience excruciating pain during activities

that place strain on the tubes, such as flying.

The pressure can cause the eardrum to burst.”

In children, eustachian tube issues are

often corrected on the outside of the ear with

the placement of ear tubes. This option is

available for adults, but only 50 percent see

improvement in their symptoms.

The eustachian tube balloon dilation

procedure allows the tubes to be opened up

from the inside. During the procedure, which

is performed in the office setting, an endo-

scope is inserted through the nose into the

tube opening. A curved catheter guides the

balloon into the tube. A safety mechanism

keeps the device from traveling into the ear-

drum. The balloon is inflated and the tube

is held open for three minutes. This pushes

the cartilage open and causes tiny fractures

in the surrounding cartilage and small bones

in the area. This process forces the tube to

remodel into an open position rather than

reverting to closed.

The eustachian tube procedure will be of-

fered in conjunction with balloon sinuplasty, a

similar procedure which opens the sinus pas-

sages via a balloon catheter, for patients who

experience chronic ear pressure along with

their sinus symptoms. These two procedures

combined take only half an hour to complete.

“Eustachian tube relief has been a subject

of research for decades,” says Dr. Huchton.

“This new procedure changes the game for

patients who have not responded to other

medical therapies. We are proud to be the

first to offer this procedure in West Texas to

provide relief and quality of life for patients

who suffer from this chronic issue.”

For more information about

eustachian tube balloon dilation,

please call


or visit


Go Red ForWomen

Misconceptions about heart disease and women could

be putting you at risk. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of

women, claiming one life per minute.

Go Red For Women is a national initiative aimed at

uniting women and their friends in the fight against heart

disease. Women are becoming better educated and learn-

ing the facts about how heart disease affects women and

men differently and how to take steps to address their risk

for a heart attack. Continued education and awareness is

crucial for women to fight this deadly disease.

Please join us for the 2017

Go Red For Women Luncheon

Wednesday, Feb. 1

10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

McNease Convention Center

Comedienne Kat Simmons will provide the keynote

address. The event will also include a silent auction and

exhibit booths.

This is the 11th year Shannon has sponsored the lun-

cheon. Reserved tables are $1,000 and individual tickets

are $50 each, and they will be available through the end

of January. To purchase tickets or for more information,

please call


. All proceeds from the

luncheon help advance educational outreach

and research programs of the American Heart


BE SCREENED: Free blood pressure checks are just

one of the many features at the upcoming Go Red

For Women event on Feb. 1.

Photo courtesy of Jim Bean Photography.

W I N T E R 2 0 1 7



N E W S , V I E W S & T I P S


WEARING RED: More than 500 people attended last

year’s Go Red For Women event.

Photo courtesy of Jim Bean Photography.