Balloon dilatation of the Eustachian tube

The inability to equalise pressure in the middle ear is present in 1% of adults1 and is known as Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD).


The most common symptoms are a feeling of full or blocked ears, popping, clicking or discomfort. This may be particularly problematic with changes of pressure such as flying, driving through tunnels or diving.

ETD occurs due to a problem with the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the nose. Until recently, we have not been able to offer patients any effective treatment for this frustrating problem.2

Balloon dilatation of the Eustachian tube is a promising treatment for ETD developed in 2009. It has been widely used across mainland Europe and North America, but has only recently been introduced into the UK and is now available from James Tysome at the Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital.

What is balloon dilatation of the Eustachian tube?

A balloon is inserted into the nose and then into the Eustachian tube, where it is inflated in order to dilate the tube. The procedure takes place under a general anaesthetic and is performed as day case surgery. Studies have reported a positive improvement in 70-88% of patients after balloon dilatation of the Eustachian tube.3-4

Is this the right treatment for me?

We treat adults who have had ETD for at least 3 months. At your consultation, Mr Tysome will perform several simple tests to establish that you have ETD and determine whether balloon dilatation is likely to be of benefit to you. This is currently available on a self-pay basis.

To book a consultation with Mr James Tysome at the Spire Cambridge Lea, please call 01223 266 900.


1. Browning GG, Gatehouse S. The prevalence of middle ear disease in the adult British population. Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci 1992; 17:317-21.
2. Norman G, A L, M Het al. Systematic review of the limited evidence base for treatments of Eustachian tube dysfunction: a health technology assessment. Clin Otolaryngol 2014; 39:6-21.
3. Tisch M, Maier S, Maier H. Eustachian tube dilation using the Bielefeld balloon catheter: clinical experience with 320 interventions. HNO 2013; 61:483-7.
4. Schroder S, Lehmann M, Ebmeyer J, Upile T, Sudhoff H. Balloon Eustachian Tuboplasty (BET): Our experience of 622 cases.Clin Otolaryngol 2015 April 13 [Epub ahead of print].

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