Twenty-two cases of perforated tympanic membrane due to fungal otitis externa were observed over a five-year period.
The diagnosis of fungal otitis externa was made on clinical grounds due to the obvious presence of fungal bloom in the external ear canal. Some perforations were noted at the first treatment after the fungal debris had been removed from the external ear canal using a microscope. Other perforations were observed to develop over a few days. Initially, a discrete area of the tympanic membrane appeared white and opaque. As time progressed the white area disintegrated, forming a perforation. Once the otitis externa had resolved most perforations healed spontaneously. Two that were observed to develop during treatment required a myringoplasty. Another one closed significantly but a tiny persistent perforation required cauterization with trichloracetic acid to encourage it to close over completely. The only residual hearing loss was in a case with almost total disintegration of the tympanic membrane requiring a myringoplasty.
Treatment of fungal otitis externa for the patients in this series was aural toilet using suction under a microscope and insertion of a gauze wick saturated in a combination of hydrocortisone, clotrimazole, framycetin and gramicidin.