Pneumatic otoscopy is a test that uses an otoscope to diagnose OME (otitis media with effusion). It allows the physician to determine the mobility of the tympanic membrane. Under normal conditions, the tympanic membrane moves when pressure is applied but in cases of otitis media or any inflammatory disease of the middle ear, particularly when there is effusion, the immobility of the tympanic membrane is observed. This immobility despite the application of pressure may also occur in case of perforation, scarring, hyalinization, or calcification of the TM. The importance of pneumatic otoscopy is particularly pronounced in cases of Acute Otitis Media which particularly affects the children at very young age. Since it is a rapid onset condition that presents with pain, pneumatic otoscopy is the tool of choice for a quick diagnosis.

The pneumatic otoscope

Before we get on to understand the importance of pneumatic otoscopy as a diagnostic tool, let us take a look at the device itself – the pneumatic otoscope. The earliest known use of the otoscope dates back to the mid-1300s when a French doctor Guy De Chauliac started using it to examine the nasal and aural passages.  The pneumatic otoscope was invented by Dr. E. Seigle, a German doctor, in 1864. Unlike the older otoscopes, in pneumatic otoscope, a handheld imaging probe is attached to a pressure module. Usually, this pressure module consists of a short steel straw and an insufflation bulb. The barrel of the otoscope is designed in such a way that the bulb can be pumped to exert pressure on the Tympanic Membrane. Over time the design of the pneumatic otoscope evolved to include a lighting system for increased clarity, a magnifying lens, and even batteries. The materials used and the designs have greatly improved over time too. These days doctors and administrators can go online and buy Heine Otoscopes and other popular branded otoscopes without having to worry about their quality.

Using the pneumatic otoscope

To use the pneumatic otoscope, the physician will first pull back the pinna and open the external auditory canal. The speculum tip will then be inserted into the ear canal as far as possible avoiding contact with the walls. With the help of the lens, the colour and lustre of the Tympanic Membrane is now visible. The insufflator bulb attached to the pneumatic port of the otoscope is then used and pressure applied to observe the movement of the TM. The Tympanic Membrane moves about 1 mm laterally and 1 mm medially under normal conditions. If there is a build-up of effusion – serum, mucus, pus or blood – in the middle ear or if there is a tumour or calcification of the middle ear cleft, the movement of the TM is impeded. As a consequence, the complications in the middle ear are diagnosed.

Importance of pneumatic otoscopy

The importance of the pneumatic otoscope in paediatric and family practice remains undisputed. As the primary diagnostic tool to help recognise and treat Otitis Media, it provides invaluable support to the doctor in coming up with the first line of treatment. Latest reports, however, suggest that the use of the pneumatic otoscope by medical students, family practitioners, and paediatricians is not quite as widespread as it should be. This makes it all the more important for medical students and even doctors to be trained on the use and maintenance of the pneumatic otoscope.

So whether you are a medical practitioner who is looking forward to buying an otoscope to upgrade his medical equipment requirements or you are a medical student who wishes to widen the horizons of his knowledge about pneumatic otoscopy, one can simply log onto Smart Medical Buyer, a prominent online store and buy quality medical devices and equipment including otoscopes, stethoscopes, ECG machines and even biomedical waste bags. Delivered right to your doorstep, the high-end medical paraphernalia by Smart Medical Buyer serves you the best at all times.