Endoscopic ear surgery: An expert guide to minimally invasive ear surgery

Written by: Mr Gaurav Kumar
Edited by: Carlota Pano

Mr Gaurav Kumar is a leading and highly skilled endoscopic ear surgeon based in London who specialises in the treatment of a range of ear conditions using the latest advancements in minimally invasive endoscopic ear surgery.


In this article, Mr Kumar provides an expert insight into minimally invasive endoscopic ear surgery. The specialist explains what conditions it can treat, what advantages it offers over traditional methods, and what results it can produce, among other important points.



What is endoscopic ear surgery, and what conditions can it treat?


Endoscopic ear surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique that uses an endoscope to view and operate on the ear. The endoscope is a small, rigid tube with a camera and a light source at the end that is inserted into the ear canal, meaning that the surgeon is able to perform complex ear cases without any outside cuts. The endoscope also allows the surgeon to see a magnified view of the structures inside the ear and to perform surgical procedures with greater precision and accuracy.


Endoscopic ear surgery can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Cholesteatoma: A non-cancerous growth of skin cells that can develop in the middle ear and lead to hearing loss, dizziness, and other complications.
  • Chronic otitis media / ear infection: A persistent inflammation of the middle ear that can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, and recurring ear infections.
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction: A condition in which the tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat does not function properly, causing ear pain, pressure, and hearing loss.
  • Perforated eardrum: A hole in the eardrum that can cause hearing loss, ear infections, and other complications.
  • Otosclerosis: A condition in which the bones in the middle ear become fused, causing hearing loss.
  • Congenital ear abnormalities: Birth defects affecting the structure or function of the middle ear.


Endoscopic ear surgery can be performed under general or local anaesthesia, and typically has a shorter recovery time and lower postoperative pain compared to traditional ear surgery.


What are the advantages of endoscopic ear surgery over traditional methods, and what kind of results can patients expect?


There are several advantages to endoscopic ear surgery over traditional ear surgery methods, such as:

  • The procedure being minimally invasive: Endoscopic ear surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves making small incisions or inserting the endoscope directly into the ear canal. This results in decreased tissue damage and scarring compared to traditional surgery.
  • Enhanced visualisation: The endoscope provides a magnified and illuminated view of the structures inside the ear, allowing the surgeon to see and access difficult-to-reach areas more easily.
  • Increased precision and targeting: Endoscopic ear surgery allows for more precise and targeted surgical interventions, reducing the risk of complications and improving the overall outcome.
  • Shorter recovery time: Patients who undergo endoscopic ear surgery often experience a shorter recovery time and lower postoperative pain compared to those who undergo traditional surgery.
  • Better cosmetic outcomes: Given that endoscopic ear surgery involves smaller incisions and less tissue damage, it can result in better cosmetic outcomes.


The specific results that patients can expect from endoscopic ear surgery will depend on the type and the severity of their condition, as well as other individual factors. However, many patients experience significant improvements in their hearing, balance, and other symptoms following the procedure. In some cases, additional procedures or treatments may be necessary to achieve optimal outcomes.


What are the potential risks and complications associated with endoscopic ear surgery, and how are they managed?


Like any surgical procedure, endoscopic ear surgery carries certain risks and potential complications. These include:

  • Bleeding: Bleeding may occur during or after the surgery, and may require an additional intervention to manage it.
  • Infection: The risk of infection is always present with any surgical procedure. Antibiotics may be prescribed before and/or after the surgery to prevent or treat infection.
  • Perforation: The eardrum or other structures in the ear may be accidentally perforated during surgery, which can lead to hearing loss or other complications.
  • Nerve damage: Nerves in the ear may be damaged during the surgery, leading to numbness, weakness, or other neurological symptoms.
  • Tinnitus: Some patients may experience ringing or other noises in the ear after the surgery.
  • Failure to improve symptoms: In some cases, endoscopic ear surgery may not fully resolve the patient's symptoms, or may result in new or worsened symptoms.
  • Anaesthesia-related complications: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of complications related to anaesthesia, such as allergic reactions or respiratory problems.


The specific risks and complications of endoscopic ear surgery will depend on each individual patient and their condition. An experienced ENT surgeon can help identify potential risks and take steps to minimise them. These may include thorough preoperative evaluation, careful surgical technique, and appropriate postoperative care and follow-up.


Patients who experience unexpected symptoms or complications after endoscopic ear surgery should contact their surgeon immediately for evaluation and management. With proper management and follow-up care, most complications can be successfully treated and resolved.


Are there any limitations or restrictions on who can undergo endoscopic ear surgery, and how is candidacy determined?


Endoscopic ear surgery is generally considered safe and effective for most patients with a range of ear conditions. However, there may be certain limitations or restrictions on who can undergo the procedure, and candidacy will be determined on a case-by-case basis. It is thus important to consult with an ENT surgeon to determine the most appropriate treatment approach for your particular case.


Some factors that may affect candidacy for endoscopic ear surgery include:

  • Anatomical factors: The specific anatomy of the patient's ear and surrounding structures may affect the ability to safely and effectively perform endoscopic surgery.
  • Severity of the condition: The severity of the patient's ear condition may also affect candidacy. In some cases, more extensive or invasive surgery may be necessary to achieve optimal outcomes.
  • Medical history: The patient's medical history and any underlying health conditions may also affect candidacy. For example, patients with certain blood clotting disorders may not be good candidates for the procedure.
  • Age: Endoscopic ear surgery can be performed on patients of various ages, but the specific technique and approach used may need to be adjusted based on the patient's age and developmental stage.
  • Patient preference: Ultimately, candidacy for endoscopic ear surgery will also depend on the patient's personal preferences and treatment goals.


It is important to have a thorough discussion with your surgeon about the potential risks, benefits, and limitations of the procedure to make an informed decision about treatment. A qualified ENT surgeon can evaluate a patient's candidacy for endoscopic ear surgery, and determine the most appropriate treatment approach based on their individual needs and circumstances.



Mr Gaurav Kumar is passionate about helping his patients achieve improved hearing, reduced pain, and enhanced quality of life. He is committed to providing the highest level of care and expertise to his patients, and strives to achieve optimal outcomes with minimal discomfort and downtime.


If you require minimally invasive endoscopic ear surgery and you would like to consult your options with an expert, do not hesitate to book an appointment with Mr Kumar via his Top Doctors profile today.

By Mr Gaurav Kumar
Otolaryngology / ENT

Mr Gaurav Kumar is a top consultant ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon based in Brentwood and Ilford. He has an extensive wealth of experience in treating all adult and paediatric ear, nose and throat conditions. His areas of expertise lie in rhinoplasty, dysphagia (swallowing difficulties), voice disorders and endoscopic ear and sinus surgery for both children and adults.

He is passionate about providing high-level care to all his patients with complex ear, nose and throat problems. To date, he has performed over 500 cases of LASER in-ear surgery to treat cholesteatoma and more than 1,000 other types of ear surgery procedures. This includes eardrum perforation repair with no facial palsy complications.

He initially trained in ENT centres and centres of excellence in India before undergoing further training in the UK. Here, he was awarded his fellowship from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons. He also underwent advanced training in voice disorders from University College London.

He has a subspecialist interest in managing patients with voice and swallowing disorders and offers rhinoplasty procedures for both functional and nasal valve problems. Other procedures he specialises in include stapes surgery for patients with otosclerosis.

Mr Kumar pioneered the use of narrow band imaging in cholesteatoma surgery, which is an imaging technique for endoscopic diagnostic medical tests. He also publishes widely in peer-reviewed journals and frequently presents his research work at international conferences.

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