Understanding The Anatomy Of An Otoscope And Its Uses

The one medical device that remains an invaluable part of the diagnostician’s toolkit is the Otoscope. It is not only an important medical device used by ENT specialists but is also very important in family and pediatric practices, helping to identify a number of ear infections and associated ailments. It is a medical device that allows the doctor to look into the ear. In fact, the otoscope is the device that allows direct observation of the middle ear and the tympanic membrane (TM) and helps diagnose common pathologies. Let us take a closer look at this invaluable device and how it is used.

Understanding Otoscopy

There are a number of different ear diseases but most of these share common symptoms. This makes it very important for a doctor to conduct a clinical examination of the ear to be able to reach a proper diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan. An otoscopy is the single most important tool that a medical practitioner can use to make such a diagnosis. To conduct a thorough otoscopy the doctor will -

  • Examine the pinna and postauricular skin - the part of the ear that is exposed
  • Further, the doctor will examine and clear the entrance to the ear canal. This allows for easy examination
  • Now the doctor uses the otoscope and inserts it into the ear canal. To do this, the doctor may need to retract the pinna upwards and backward in adults and horizontally backward in children. It is important that the otoscope is held correctly to get a complete view of the ear canal and for the safety of the patient.
  • In case the doctor is using a pneumatic otoscope, the pressure is applied to monitor the mobility of the TM and to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of OME (otitis media with effusion).
  • The Macroview otoscope, like most Welch Allyn products, allows the doctor to adjust the lens for magnification and for proper viewing. This will help the doctor assess the contents of the middle ear and the opacity of the membrane.

Evolution of the modern otoscope

The importance of the otoscope was first recognized in the 1300s when Guy De Chauliac, a French doctor, fashioned one of the earliest otoscopes to examine the nose and ear cavities of his patients. Over time, the otoscope developed into a sophisticated tool with magnifying lenses and lights to increase the clarity of vision.

There are several types of otoscopes. The battery-operated, pocket-size otoscopes are indeed very handy but the wall-mounted, power-operated devices are very reliable for long hours of use. The newer video otoscope is a smart use of technology. The output of the handheld otoscope is sent to a screen and can be recorded and amplified. The fact remains that the otoscope is one of the best diagnostic tools that a doctor uses to diagnose ailments and diseases of the ear.

All Welch Allyn stethoscopes and otoscopes are now available at Smart Medical Buyer website