Middle ear irrigation using a hydrodebrider decreases biofilm surface area in an animal model of otitis media

Ralph Abi Hachem, Stefania Goncalves, Thomas Walker, Simon Angeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare the safety and efficacy of manual and powered irrigation of the middle ear using saline or 1% baby shampoo to treat biofilm-forming bacterial middle ear infections. Background: Biofilms play a major role in recalcitrant otitis media and are challenging to treat. Many therapeutic strategies have been attempted and the role of topical therapies is still being investigated. Topical irrigation using saline or 1% baby shampoo and the use of a hydrodebrider have been investigated in biofilms involved in chronic rhinosinusitis and their role within the middle ear is yet to be determined. Methods: Twenty-two adult chinchillas underwent bilateral trans-bullar inoculation of non-typable biofilm forming Haemophilus influenza followed by unilateral middle ear irrigation 5 days later using saline administered via a powered hydrodebrider or manual irrigation of saline or 1% baby shampoo. Contralateral inoculated ears served as control and were not irrigated. Two days following irrigation, the bullae were harvested and processed for scanning electron microscopy to assess biofilm surface area. Auditory brainstem responses were performed before bacterial inoculation and prior to euthanasia. Results: Manual and powered irrigation were effective in reducing the surface area of biofilm when compared to the control group. The hydrodebrider demonstrated to be more effective at eradicating biofilm than manual irrigation, especially in areas of difficult access, such as the ventral portion of the chinchillas' bullae. There was no difference in manual irrigation of saline when compared to 1% baby shampoo. Irrigations either manually or using the hydrodebrider did not affect hearing, the vestibular system or facial function. Conclusion: Middle ear biofilms can be treated safely and effectively with rinses using either normal saline or 1% baby shampoo administered manually or with a powered hydrodebrider. Level of Evidence: NA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-237
Number of pages7
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • antibiotic resistant
  • Biofilm
  • biofilm matrix
  • chronic otitis media
  • Haemophilus influenza
  • hydrodebrider
  • manual irrigation
  • otitis media with effusion
  • planktonic bacteria state
  • powered irrigation
  • refractory otitis media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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