Total Ear Canal Ablation (TECA)
Total Ear Canal Ablation (TECA) is an end stage procedure usually indicated for chronic otitis externa. This procedure was developed for dogs with ear disease that has been treated chronically and that has become either refractory to treatment, or in dogs with ear canals that have literally started to close down on themselves.
Within the ear canals themselves are the glands that produce the sebum or wax that healthy ears need. In dogs with very chronic infections and/or severe allergic skin disease (skin does in fact line the er canal). Over time the glands hypertrophy, or enlarge and overproduce, to such a degree that the canals basically swell shut. But this type of selling won’t go away, it’s permanent. The itching, pain, and loss of hearing that goes along with this is extreme.
The solution may seem extreme as well: Removal of the entire ear canal, right down to the middle ear. The middle ear is often harboring the bacteria that keep the infection going, so the middle ear is cleaned thoroughly and flushed as the ear canal is removed. This may seem aggressive, but at this point, aggressive is the idea. By removing (ablation) the entire (total) ear canal (TECA), you’re move the source of infection, pain, inflammation, all at once. As far as hearing, there usually is no perceivable difference after surgery versus before (think of trying to hear through all that tissue, swelling and infection)!
Most complications with the TECA are mild or temporary. They include a Bell’s Palsy (drooping of the face, inability to blink the eye on side of surgery). This is temporary in 80% plus of the patients that develop it. Very rarely, a tract can develop within the first year or two where a small site of residual infection has surfaced. This can be resolved in most cases. Other complications are mild and are usually resolved at the time of the procedure. Since the lining of the ears are skin and dermatological problems are a key issue with theses patents, we often recommend evaluation by a dermatologist if issues remain.