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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2003 Dec;67 Suppl 1:S233-5.

Aseptic surgical technique and postgrommet otorrhoea.

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Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery, Whipps Cross Hospital, London, UK.


Myringotomy and grommet insertion is one of the most common operations performed in Europe today, with an estimated 70,000 being carried out annually in Britain alone [Lancet 1 (1984) 835]. Otorrhoea is a common postoperative complication. There is controversy about the degree to which surgical asepsis should be maintained during the operation. This prospective study of 35 patients (70 ears) undergoing grommet insertion was carried out to evaluate the efficacy of two differing degrees of surgical asepsis. Using each patient as their own control a grommet was inserted into one ear with the surgeon wearing sterile gloves and masks, and the other wearing only clean non-sterile gloves. Discharge in the first 14 days occurred in five ears, three cases belonging to the former group and two to the latter. The results indicate that there is no significant difference in the incidence of postoperative otorrhoea using either of the above methods, and demonstrate that this operation may be performed in a safe but more cost-efficient manner.

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