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Removal of superglue from the external ear using acetone: case report and literature review

  • Wedad F. Abadir (a1), Venice Nakhla (a1) and Philomina Chong (a1)


The ability of superglue preparations (cyanoacrylate) to bond instantly to skin as well as inanimate objects presents a special problem when instilled into the external ear canal. We present two cases of patients who had it successfully removed under the microscope with the help of acetone BP to debond it from the skin, without any damage to the meatus or the tympanic membrane. The third patient had the superglue removed without the help of acetone but sustained damage to the tympanic membrane. A literature review of similar cases is included.


Corresponding author

Miss W. F. Abadir, F.R.C.S., E.N.T. Department, West Middlesex University Hospital, Twickenham Road, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 6AF. Fax: 0181 991 1548.


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Bressler, K., Shelton, C. (1993) Ear foreign-body removal: a review of 98 consecutive cases. Laryngoscope 103: 367370.
Picton-Robinson, I. (1977) Danger of instant adhesive. British Medical Journal 2: 581582.
Pollock, H. D. (1988) Letter: Glue-ear – cyanoacrylic. Archives of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery 114: 1188.
White, S. J., Broner, S. (1994) The use of acetone to dissolve a styrofoam impaction of the ear. Annals of Emergency Medicine 23: 580582.
Wight, R. G., Bull, P. D. (1987) Superglue ear. The Journal of Laryngology and Otology 101: 706707.
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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
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