‘Ear-resistible surprise’: spider found in woman’s ear


TAIWAN: In an unsettling incident, doctors in Taiwan recently discovered a spider inside a woman’s ear, shedding its skin.

According to Sky News, the 64-year-old woman had been experiencing discomfort and sounds of movement in her left ear, which eventually led her to seek medical attention in April.

Upon examination at the Tainan Municipal Hospital, doctors found a small spider actively moving within the woman’s ear canal. Remarkably, the spider had molted, leaving behind its exoskeleton, or hard body covering, in close proximity.

Dr Tengchin Wang, the director of the otolaryngology department at the hospital, utilised a tube to safely extract the spider and its discarded exoskeleton from the patient’s ear.

Fortunately, the woman did not experience significant pain during the process, as the spider was relatively small, measuring about two to three millimeters.

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Given the rare nature of the case, Dr Wang documented the incident in a case report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. He also took the opportunity to advise the public to seek medical evaluation if they encounter similar symptoms.

Meanwhile, physician at ENT Sinus and Allergy of South Florida Dr David Kasle described the image presented in Dr Wang’s report as “unusual and disturbing.”

He said that, while this case is exceptional, ear, nose, and throat specialists often encounter various insects and arthropods in patients’ ears throughout their careers.

Dr Kasle explained the sensitivity of the external auditory canal’s thin skin lining, which makes individuals acutely aware of crawling sensations or tickling, often causing discomfort.

In the case report, Dr Wang suggested using substances like lidocaine or ethanol to immobilise and kill larger insects to prevent further damage to the ear. However, he cautioned that the method should not be employed if an eardrum has a perforation, as it may be challenging for individuals to determine this on their own.

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