Total Ear Canal Ablation with Lateral Bulla Osteotomy (TECA-LBO)

This is a major surgery for treatment of end-stage ears or cancer of the ear. End-stage ears are where the disease in the ear canals has been going for so long and is so severe, that the cartilage of the ear canal is permanently thickened, blocking the ear canal and causing unrelenting pain.

This procedure can also be done for chronically infected ears with Pseudomonas infection.

Cocker Spaniels have relatively common problems with their ear canals, and TECA-LBO surgery is not infrequently required to treat the disease in this breed.



Surgery involves removal of the entire ear canal, the ear drum, and the lateral wall of the middle ear cavity. The ear flap is usually preserved intact, though in dogs with pricked up ears it can flop over after surgery.

The surgery is major, and should only be undertaken after serious consideration of the risks.

Haemorrhage, infection, and nerve damage are also possible complications of the surgery. Having said that, TECA-LBO is the only effective treatment for the conditions it is used for, and in spite of the complication risk, the vast majority of patients are improved dramatically by the surgery. To see an animal change from chronic intractable pain, to a painfree life is one of the joys of this operation.

Suitable candidates

If the surgery is for removal of a cancer, then xrays and possibly CT may be required to check the extent of the cancer. Biopsy of the mass pre-surgery is also likely required.

For active infection, it is best to have the ear canal in as good a condition as possible before surgery, ie the infection under control at least. We appreciate this is not always possible, but it reduces the chance of infection after surgery.

Time involved in clinic

Most patients will be staying in the clinic for 24-48 hours after surgery. This is a painful procedure for the first few days after surgery, and we used powerful medication to control this.

After care

Your pet will have an Elizabethan collar on to protect the wound, and likely a head bandage for a few days. There will be a surgical drain that we will remove at 3 days after surgery, then 2 weeks after surgery we will remove the sutures.

Swabs from the middle ear cavity will be taken for bacterial culture and sensitivity testing, and the results from these tests will dictate the choice of antibiotics used after surgery.

How to book

Give reception a ring on 09 238 7486 to discuss transfer of your patient to our clinic for assessment and treatment. You may be asked to bring any clinical notes, xrays images, and medications with you when you come.