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Why I'm big fan of the operating microscope

Further to your brief item about my operating microscope (News, May 3) readers may be interested in a little more information.

One afternoon I was playing my horn part at the final rehearsal for a concert when the horn player next to me complained bitterly that he could not hear a thing.

I whisked him away to our surgery, dewaxed his ears under our operating microscope (the wax was too hard to syringe) and he returned with his hearing back to normal for the concert that evening. If only medicine were always that straightforward!

In 1997 our patients' association generously donated to us an operating microscope and an aspirator.

Thus we became the only practice I know with an operating microscope. Because of my ENT experience, I am the prime user in our practice, but generally nurses and doctors can learn how to use it fairly easily. (A Jobson-Horne probe and crocodile forceps are useful accessories.)

Many have asked me if it is worth having the operating microscope in general practice. We use it for removing fine sutures; excising certain facial lesions especially around the eyes; removing wax and debris from ears with mastoid cavities or perforated tympanic membranes or in which syringing has failed; removing discharge from infected ears; extracting foreign bodies unsuitable for syringing out; having a closer look at suspect tympanic membranes; nasolacrimal lavage for blocked tearducts; and plucking ingrown eyelashes.

Our local private hearing aid supplier often asks me to clear out patients' ears before he makes impressions for their hearing aid moulds!

Dr Alan Byers



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