Vietnam hospital fixes ear damage with coral

By Thanh Tung, Thanh Nien News

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An ear surgery using biologically modified coral at the Ho Chi Minh City Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital. Photo courtesy of the hospital

The Ho Chi Minh City Health Department has announced that a local hospital has managed to intervene to cure ear diseases using coral.
The department announced last week that the treatment had been provided at the city Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Hospital since 2009.
Doctor Le Hoang Phong who directly carries out coral treatments at the hospital, said traditional treatment removes the damaged area with a surgery, leaving a vacancy in the middle ear area.
The disadvantage of the method is that it reduces the patient’s hearing, causing buzz sounds and regular dizziness as the middle ear loses its balancing function. The patient thus needs to revisit the hospital many times.
But the coral method replaces this hole and eliminates these problems.
Phong said his team started the project in cooperation with doctors from Pham Ngoc Thach Medicine University and Ho Chi Minh City Medicine University, using coral in treating ear conditions, especially cholesteatoma, which is a middle ear condition common in Vietnam, in which a mass of cholesterol and skin scales forms, grows and invades nearby structures including bones.
The coral is produced by Pham Ngoc Thach Medicine University and has been modified biologically to be compatible with the human body. It costs around US$20 each operation, much lower than using similar foreign material.
It has been used in 144 cases to fill up the removed area and/or to restructure the bony part or nerves.
The hospital is working with Pham Ngoc Thach Medicine University to produce a biological glue from the patients’ blood for cosmetic purposes during the insertion of the coral.
Other achievements announced by the department include more effective methods in stem cell transplants for blood production at the Hospital of Blood Transfusion and Hematology, hip surgeries for patients of broken thigh bones at 115 People’s Hospital, surgeries of left atrial budges at the Children’s Hospital No. 2, and the application of molecular biology techniques to diagnose modern infections like influenza A from bird flu virus strains H7N9, H5N1.

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