Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a novel handheld device for the treatment of a common ear complaint that could significantly improve current surgical methods.
The researchers said the device, known as CLiKX, is the first of its kind and can shave hours off the previous method, as well as cut up to two-thirds of the cost, based on a ballpark figure of $2,000 to $3,000 for an unsubsidised patient.
The condition, known as Otitis Media with Effusion (OME), also known as "glue ear", affects up to 709 million people worldwide annually. Nine out of 10 are children and in Singapore, about 84,000 children a year suffer from it, said the researchers.
CLiKX is used to make a microincision in the patient's eardrum to insert a tube that drains the fluid. It takes seconds, compared with the previous surgical method, which is done in an operating theatre and takes between six and eight hours as the patient has to be under general anaesthesia.