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Surgeons in Perth at the Fremantle Hospital and the University of Western Australia (UWA) are trialing a new procedure to treat chronic ear problems.
The technique originates in Japan, and is a five-minute procedure that uses a growth factor to prompt the body to close perforations in the eardrum itself. Current treatment for perforations involves a 35 minute operation under a general anaesthetic.
UWA's Gunesh Rajan says it will make treatment possible even for remote areas: 'It can solve one aspect of it because it makes the procedure much more achievable even in the outback,' he said.
This might mean it could help solve chronic ear problems in remote Indigenous communities - one in three Indigenous children has a perforated eardrum before the age of two.
A second trial of the procedure will begin at Perth's Princess Margaret Children's Hospital later in 2012.
Source: ABC News