Phoenix Children’s first in state to use new ear tube placement device

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Phoenix Children’s Hospital is one of the first hospitals in the nation to use a new device created to make ear tube procedures easier and quicker. The device is called Hummingbird and was created by Preceptis Medical in Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic started using it on young patients who had frequent ear infections which required ear tubes. “When we place typical ear tubes, you make a small cut in the ear drum, clear out any fluid that’s in there and then you place the tube and kind of position it in the drum appropriately. What’s really different about the Hummingbird device, what we really like about it, is that it all happens in one step,” explained Dr. Nate Page. “The device itself allows you to make that cut and leave the tube in the eardrum all at the same time. And that’s really what facilitates using it on these younger kids.”

Dr. Page, who specializes in ear, nose and throat at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, worked with the Mayo Clinic to get the device in Arizona. He says it’s a game changer because the patients don’t need anesthesia or any of the other pre-op requirements. “The Hummingbird is done in our clinic, so there’s none of the rigmarole that goes into going in our operating room. They come in just like a regular doctor visit,” explained Dr. Page.

One East Valley mom said her daughter, who is just under 2 years old, needed ear tubes after getting constant ear infections. “She started getting consistent ear infections when she was about 7 months old and pretty much she was on a constant antibiotic for almost a year,” said Krystal Arnett. “After like the fourth or fifth ear infection I was like, we need to do something.”

Arnett and her daughter, Phoebe, met with Dr. Page and learned about the Hummingbird. “He said, ‘Hey we just rolled out this new procedure, we’ve only had a couple kids do it. It allows us to put the tubes in her ears in the office and she can be awake,’” Arnett said. “If I don’t have to put here under, that was a huge selling point to me.”

Arnett said they were out of the doctor’s office within 10 minutes. “We put her on the table, we wrap her in a little blanket just so she stays still. There were a couple nurses and I just hold here. They numb each ear and just do the procedure. It literally took like two seconds on each side,” Arnett said. “The whole thing start to finish, when she was on the table, was probably five minutes. It was super quick.”

Dr. Page said Phoenix Children’s has been using the Hummingbird since December, but so far, it’s only been used on about 35 patients. “Our numbers are still relatively small with what we’re doing. But we also started very cautiously doing only very specific kids that we chose to help make progress and then as we’ve seen the success now we’re widening that to be able to offer it to more and more kids,” Dr. Page said.

The COO of Preceptis Medical, Greg Mielke, said they plan to further scale and accelerate access for parents and providers to address strong demand throughout the country for this new option. “We are adding sites frequently and driven to make this an option for all parents!” Mielke said.

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