This page was last updated: August 18th, 2021
The department is based in the ENT department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. We also hold clinics at Bodmin Hospital, Camborne/Redruth Hospital, Newquay Hospital, Penrice Hospital, St Michaels Hospital and West Cornwall Hospital.
We accept initial referrals from GP’s, practice nurses and from other departments from within the trust. Please send all referral letters to:
The booking team
Head and neck
c/o Pendragon house
Royal Cornwall Hospital.
To discuss a new referral, GPs and healthcare professionals can also call 01872 252272
Nurse-led rhinology and aural care clinics run weekly throughout the county at Royal Cornwall Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, Camborne and Redruth Hospital, Falmouth Hospital, Newquay Hospital, Bodmin Hospital and Penrice Hospital.
Mr Kel Anyamwu
Mr Thaung Naing
Miss Jyothi Srinivasan
Miss Eirian Jones
Miss Jacqui Williams
Ongoing training and professional development is integrated with the work of the ENT department. We work with a number of 3rd to 5th year undergraduate medical students from the Peninsula College of Medicine for their pathway weeks, placements and Specific Study Units. We also host surgical trainees and run Weekly Foundation and Core Trainee training programs.
Repeatedly exposing your ears to cold water over an extended period of time. UK surfers are particularly at risk due to year round cold water exposure.
UK water temperatures can range from as low as 5-6 °C in the winter to 15-16 °C in the summer. These temperatures combined with wind chill are the major factor in the development of surfers’ ear.
It is thought that cold water entering the ears produces an increased blood flow which stimulates the bone formation. Evidence suggests exostoses can develop in as little as 5 years of regular cold water surfing if your ears are unprotected.
Blockage & difficulty clearing ears of water, wax and debris
Keep cold water out your ears. This is achievable with ear plugs and/or wearing a hood particularly during winter months.
Ear protection can range from non-customised over the counter ear plugs, of which there are plenty on the market, to custom made ear plugs which can either be arranged through your local health services or privately. Many surfers advocate using Blu-Tack, and find this gives a comfortable tight seal if applied correctly (fig 2). There is good evidence to suggest that using ear protection will significantly lower your chances of developing exostoses.
If you are suffering symptoms related to surfers’ ear they may be managed with conservatively by your GP who may prescribe antibiotic ear drops if there is concern about infection.
If you are concerned that you may already be suffering from surfer’s ear please contact your GP
If conservative management fails and symptoms become frequent, surgery may be appropriate. Removal of exostoses is undertaken by ENT surgeons. Nowadays the operation is usually carried out as a day case, under general anaesthetic, so you will be asleep during the operation.
The operation takes approximately 6090 minutes. An incision can be made at the front of the ear (endaural) or at the back (post auricular) to provide better access to the ear canal.
Under microscope the surgeon will expose the exostoses in the canal and remove the exostoses either with a miniature drill or a micro-chisel. Sometimes, particularly if there are exostoses close to the ear drum, both the drill and micro-chisel will be used in combination.
Following successful removal of exostoses, the ear is packed and dressed and the incision closed with sutures. This area heals well usually with minimal scarring. The pack remains in the ear for 2 weeks.
It will take several weeks for the ear canal to heal. It is important during this time to keep the ear as dry as possible. You are likely to have to stop surfing for a minimum of 6 weeks. Time out the water is dictated by how quickly your ear canal heals.
Complications with this procedure are minimal; it is generally considered safe and straight forward operation. However, surgery always carries risks and your consultant would discuss these with you.
Patients often have a high degree of anxiety regarding operations on ears. For this condition however we have found that there are a significant number patients returning to undergo the same surgery on their other ear. This is testament to the straight forward and tolerable nature of the operation. In our experience we find patients who have undergone the procedure to be highly satisfied with results and improved quality of life.
Prevention is better than cure – PROTECT YOUR EARS
Author: Ewen Cowan (medical student)
University of Aberdeen
Mr Flanagan consultant ENT surgeon (FRCS, ORL)
Department of ENT
Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro