Delivering Better Health in the Middle East


Dubai ENT specialist joins international committee to redefine understanding of inner ear anatomy 500 years after first description

September 19, 2016

ENT patients to benefit from new understanding created by imaging and surgical procedure pioneered in Dubai

Thanks to pioneering work by the American Hospital Dubai, patients are now set to benefit from a new understanding of the anatomy of the Eustachian Tube – a vital part of the middle ear. Dysfunction of the Eustachian Tube is the most common reason for patients visiting and seeking treatment at ENT departments worldwide.

Almost 500 years after first being identified and described by Italian anatomist Bartolomeo Eustachio (in 1562 in Rome), the medical understanding of the Eustachian Tube –part of the anatomy of the middle ear – has been refined after a research collaboration undertaken by an international committee of 15 ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialists including Dr. Muaaz Tarabichi, Head of ENT Department at American Hospital Dubai.

The committee’s re-evaluation of the Eustachian Tube was made possible by the use of middle-ear endoscopes (an endoscope is a thin, illuminated tubular instrument used to look deep into the body in a procedure called an endoscopy) to create direct access to and viewing of the Eustachian Tube.

Dr. Tarabichi was the first ENT surgeon to perform Endoscopic Ear Surgery (EES), in 1992, and developed the procedure at American Hospital Dubai, which is acknowledged as the ‘birthplace’ of EES.

With the benefits of ear endoscopy, the committee was able to redefine the structure of the Eustachian Tube and develop a new understanding and a clearer and more distinct description of an area that is now increasingly accessible for surgical interventions. This new anatomical understanding will be reported across international ENT organisations and will be adopted as the official position on Eustachian Tubes.

Tarabichi 300
Dr. Muaaz Tarabichi

Speaking about the committee’s work, Dr. Tarabichi comments: “This re-evaluation lays the ground for a new and common understanding of the anatomy and terminology used to describe the Eustachian Tube for the ENT community worldwide. We were also pleased to be able to do some of the evaluation work here at American Hospital Dubai. With this greater understanding and access to the inner ear made possible by middle ear endoscopy, we will be in a better position to correct Eustachian Tube dysfunctions and so improve patient outcomes. To create a new view of the anatomy first described almost 500 years ago and to be able add to this knowledge, is special and very satisfying.”

ENT specialists from Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, Italy and the US worked as part of the international committee alongside Dr Tarabichi, which took three months to complete the re-evaluation of the Eustachian Tube.

The Eustachian Tubes are a pair of narrow tubes that run from each middle ear to high in the back of the throat, behind the nasal passages. The throat end of the tubes open and close to regulate air pressure in the middle ear, refresh air in the ear, and drain normal secretions from the middle ear.

Swelling, inflammation and mucus in the Eustachian Tubes from an upper respiratory infection or allergy can block them, causing the accumulation of fluids in the middle ear. A bacterial or viral infection of this fluid is usually what produces the symptoms of an ear infection.



MOHAP – QN56507 – 19/10/2016