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Am Fam Physician. 2008;78(1):28

Author disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Original Article: Foreign Bodies in the Ear, Nose, and Throat

Issue Date: October 15, 2007

to the editor: The excellent review on foreign bodies in the ear, nose, and throat will be of much interest to any family physician who has wrestled with these mischievous and far-too-common objects. However, there are a couple of additional techniques that may be useful for office-based physicians that I have previously published in American Family Physician (AFP).1,2

The easiest way we have found to remove these foreign bodies is to apply a small drop of strong bonding glue to the end of a cotton-tipped applicator. Taking care not to touch the mucous membranes, the applicator is then touched to the foreign body for as long as it takes the seal to harden (usually 15 to 20 seconds). Then, the applicator and foreign body can be easily removed. Because the nose generally has hair on the sides, we are more comfortable using this method for nasal foreign bodies than for foreign bodies in the ear.1

To remove nonoccluding foreign bodies from the ear, one can use dental impression material, which may be obtained from a local dentist. The semifluid dental impression material is injected into the external auditory canal, then removed after curing, with the foreign body attached. Dental amalgam comes with two substances in separate tubes connected by a hand-held pump device that empty through a single nipple. The method is painless, easy, and fun! This technique should not be used with a tympanostomy tube in place.2

Email letter submissions to Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors. Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Letters may be edited to meet style and space requirements.

This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, deputy editor.

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