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Balloon Eustachian Tuboplasty (BET) - Surgery for Eustachian tube dysfunction

This is a type of surgery for Eustachian tube dysfunction that can be used when the Eustachian tube (ET) does not open properly (dilatory Eustachian tube dysfunction). It may benefit patients with non-specific Eustachian tube dysfunction symptoms, but is particularly useful for treatment of recurrent glue ear (as an alternative to grommets), or for patients who can’t equalise their ears when they fly or dive (baro-induced Eustachain tube dysfunction), using the Tubavent system. Under a short anaesthetic, a catheter tube is passed in through the nose and up the ET opening. There is a balloon at the end of the catheter which is inflated with saline once inside the ET, helping to stretch it open and in many cases, to work better. Success rates have been reported as between 64-97%, although it may need to be repeated.

Balloon Eustachian tuboplasty is very safe, but here is a small risk of causing a small air leak under the skin (which settles down by itself). There is a tiny, theoretical risk of the inflated balloon damaging the internal carotid artery (the main blood supply to the brain) and causing bleeding or a stroke. This has never been reported and is unlikely if the anatomy of the carotid artery is normal.