To pack or not to pack? A contemporary review of middle ear packing agents

Authors

  • Yi Shen MBBS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Ear Sciences Centre, School of Surgery , The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
    2. Ear Science Institute of Australia , Perth, Western Australia
    3. the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck , Ningbo Lihuili Hospital (Ningbo Medical Centre), Ningbo, Zhejiang, China
    • 2nd Floor M-Block, Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia 6009
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  • Bing Mei Teh MBBS,

    1. Ear Sciences Centre, School of Surgery , The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
    2. Ear Science Institute of Australia , Perth, Western Australia
    3. Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital , Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • Peter L. Friedland FRACS,

    1. Ear Sciences Centre, School of Surgery , The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
    2. Ear Science Institute of Australia , Perth, Western Australia
    3. Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital , Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • Robert Henry Eikelboom PhD,

    1. Ear Sciences Centre, School of Surgery , The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
    2. Ear Science Institute of Australia , Perth, Western Australia
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  • Marcus David Atlas FRACS

    1. Ear Sciences Centre, School of Surgery , The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
    2. Ear Science Institute of Australia , Perth, Western Australia
    3. Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital , Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Abstract

Middle ear packing agents are used in otologic surgery to provide support to the middle ear structures, maintain aeration of the middle ear, and promote hemostasis. However, there is currently a lack of standardization regarding the use of different types of packing agents. The choice of materials and how they are used remain controversial. In fact, some have recently advocated for no packing. In view of this, this review focuses on the types of materials available, a brief historical account of each material, characteristics of an ideal packing agent, and a discussion on the techniques of insertion to optimize surgical outcomes.

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