What Does The TECA-BO Surgery Entail? A Complete Guidelines

Total Ear Canal Ablation and Bulla Osteotomy

Never owned a pet before? Then, it's the right time to familiarize yourself with all the necessary procedures required to keep your four-legged friend fit and healthy. Primary care includes worming and flea treatments, vaccinations, dental care, bathing, grooming, nail clipping, etc. But according to the experts, pet owners must have complete know-how about the complicated but most common diseases that require surgeries to be cured. So, as a responsible pet owner, you should get your pet registered with a local veterinary practice where you can take it for all its routine medical check-ups and treatment, regardless of whether it's a cat or dog. 

In addition to primary care, like vaccines, you should immediately get your animal to a professional if you notice something unusual in your pet's physical health. But it's also a fact that you can only give the utmost care to dogs or cats once you completely understand the viral disease symptoms and other details. For instance, both cancerous and benign ear canal tumors have become common in dogs and cats. However, this article will cover all Total Ear Canal Ablation and Bulla Osteotomy aspects. So, let's get started! 

Understanding TECA-BO

TECA-BO (total ear canal ablation and Bulla osteotomy) is a surgical procedure most often performed on animals, particularly dogs suffering from certain ear diseases. It is an extensive and relatively invasive procedure involving completely removing the ear canal and part of the middle ear. Because of the irreversible nature of the process and possible complications, this decision must be taken with great caution.

TECA-BO surgery is generally considered necessary in the following cases:

1. Chronic End-Stage Otitis Externa: When an animal suffers from chronic otitis externa (inflammation or infection of the external ear canal) that cannot be treated with medication, a TECA-BO procedure may be recommended. This chronic condition can be harrowing and considerably affect the animal's quality of life.

2. Tumors in The Ear Canal: if cancer develops in the ear canal, removing the ear canal may be the best method to ensure the complete elimination of cancer. Early intervention can often prevent the tumor from spreading to other areas.

3. Severe Narrowing of The Ear Canal: stenosis is the narrowing the ear canal in the body. In this case, the ear canal narrows, making it difficult to hear sounds appropriately and causing discomfort. This condition is often the result of chronic inflammation.

4. Middle Ear Disease: These diseases can lead to severe complications, including untreated neurological problems.

5. Necrotizing Otitis Media or Externa: these types of severe ear infections, which can lead to the death of ear tissue, usually require surgery. If left untreated, they can lead to serious disorders and systemic diseases.

6. Unhealed Wounds or Ulcers in The Ear Canal: They can cause persistent discomfort and lead to more serious problems if left untreated.

This list is not exhaustive; other conditions or factors may lead the veterinarian to recommend the TECA-BO procedure. These may include the animal's general state of health, the possibility of obtaining a positive result with less invasive treatments, and the animal's quality of life.

Despite the invasive and permanent nature of the procedure, most animals recover well, and their quality of life improves considerably. The most common side effect is head shaking or head tilting, which usually disappears with time.

In some animals, there may also be temporary or permanent paralysis of the facial nerve, but this is rarer. Overall, the benefits of the operation often outweigh the risks, particularly in cases where the animal's quality of life has been severely affected by its ear condition.

TECA-BO Surgery Procedure 

Before performing this surgery, a dog will undergo a pre-operative assessment. Moreover, the surgery includes the following: 

Preparing for The TECABO Surgery

  • Veterinarians perform radiographs or CT scanning to assess the tympanic bullae better. Before administering the surgery, it is crucial to know the condition of bullae, tumor growth, and how narrow the ear canals are. Thus, images (through radiography) will help veterinary surgeons decide whether or not this aggressive surgery is appropriate for the pet patient. 
  • Professionals may perform an ear drainage culture, which helps check for the germs that can affect the treatment and cause infection. 
  • Before surgery, knowing if any nerve problem exists is imperative. Because the nerves are affected and diseased before surgery, it is unlikely that they will reclaim function even after the surgery. Therefore, dogs undergo a pre-surgery assessment of cranial nerve function.
  • You should never forget that facial paralysis is widespread in dogs and cats having long-standing ear diseases. Because the facial nerve runs just near the base of the ear, the pet patient is slacked-jawed, and it's tough for them to blink. 
  • It is also essential to discuss that the total ear canal ablation and Bulla osteotomy may not dramatically affect the hearing, which most pet patients have already lost due to chronic ear disease. However, most pet owners already know whether or not their pets can hear. But it is essential to conduct a hearing test before surgery. 
  • Additionally, veterinarians recommend complete blood and urinary test before administering any major surgical or anesthetic procedure. 


The procedure includes the following: 

  • To perform total ear ablation, surgeons give general anesthesia to the pet patients. 
  • Surgeons then clip the affected ear and prepare the site for sterile surgery.
  • Then, an incision is made around the opening of the ear canal. After making the incisions, the medical practitioner dissects and removes the ear canal. 
  • This will ensure the clear visibility of the middle ear cavity, commonly known as the tympanic bulla, which enables surgeons to remove the debris from the middle ear. It is pertinent to mention that such patients' eardrums are continuously ruptured and absent. 
  • The medical practitioners then submit the affected material from the bulla for the bacterial culture, enabling healthcare providers to know the possible presence of the infection-causing bacteria and decide which antibiotics will be effective for the affected dogs.
  • After this, the surgeons clean the bone lining of the bulla and close the incision. However, an external drain is left in place, allowing the remaining fluid to exit from the incision. 
  • At the end of the procedures, veterinary surgery experts use a bandage or Elizabethan collar, stopping pets from rubbing their face or surgery site. 

Post-operative Care For Pets 

Most of the time, the dogs are sent home after the surgeries. They still have a drain and bandages covering the wounds or surgical site. This is the time to take proper care of your pets. Listen to the instructions of your veterinarians, and get the complete details about the care and removal of the drains and bandages. You should remember that little ignorance can lead to potential risks or infections. 

Give your pet pain medication and antibiotics precisely according to the surgeon's instructions. Most of the time, Antibiotics are usually given for 2-4 weeks after the surgery. However, it depends on your dog's overall health and, more importantly, the severity of the disease. 

To prevent the self-trauma to the surgical site, which may be caused by continuous scratching, your dog must wear an E-collar. 

Possible Risks And Complications Associated With TECA-BO

Although TECA-BO can significantly improve an animal's quality of life, like any surgical procedure, it also entails potential risks. Here are some of these risks:

1. Anesthesia Risk: All surgical procedures requiring anesthesia carry a particular risk, depending on the animal's general health and age. However, modern anesthesia procedures and monitoring systems have considerably reduced these risks.

2. Infection: post-operative infections are a risk for any surgical procedure. Animals undergoing total ear canal ablation and bulla osteotomy generally receive antibiotics to prevent this.

3. Facial Nerve Paralysis: is one of the most severe possible complications of Total ear canal ablation cat. The facial nerve runs very close to the ear canal and can sometimes be damaged during the operation, resulting in paralysis of one-half of the face. This can affect the animal's ability to blink, leading to dry eyes and other complications.

4. Hematoma Or Seroma Formation: is an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin at the surgical site. It may require further treatment or even ear surgery to remove it.

5. Vestibular Dysfunction: It affects the animal's balance and can lead to symptoms such as head tilt, unsteady gait, and rapid eye movements. It is usually temporary but, in rare cases, can become permanent.

How Common Are Complications, And How Can You Treat Them?

The frequency of complications after TECA BO varies but is generally low. Many complications are minor and can be controlled with additional medical treatment. Serious complications are rare but do occur and may include persistent vestibular dysfunction or facial nerve paralysis. Post-operative care, including wound care, pain management, and antibiotics, is essential to minimize the risk of complications.

Total Ear Canal Ablation And Bulla Osteotomy Efficacy And Success Rate

Understanding the Overall Effectiveness Of TECA-BO

Total ear canal ablation and Bulla osteotomy (TECA-BO) is generally considered highly effective procedure for its intended conditions. However, it is essential to understand that this procedure is generally only considered a last resort when other treatments have failed due to its invasiveness and irreversible consequences.

Pain and Suffering Relief: Improved Quality of Life

In most cases, TECA-BO alleviates the pain and discomfort associated with chronic ear disease. The result is an overall improvement in the animal's quality of life.

TECA-BO's Effectiveness in Treating Advanced Otitis Externa

Studies show that over 90% of dogs undergoing TECABO dog treatment for otitis externa (chronic outer ear inflammation) experience significant improvement or disappearance of clinical symptoms after the procedure. These include reduced pain, absence of discharge, and arrest of disease progression.

TECA-BO In the Context of Ear Canal Tumors

Success rates for operations on ear canal tumors can vary depending on the type of tumor, its stage, and whether or not it has metastasized. However, total ear canal ablation and bulla osteotomy can relieve pain and discomfort in these cases.

Complications and Their Treatment

The complication rate ranges from 10% to 50%, depending on the case and study. Many of these complications are minor and can be treated with post-operative medication. Serious complications, such as personal nerve damage or vestibular pathology, are rarer and occur in around 2-20% of cases.

The Importance of Veterinary Experience and Post-Operative Care

As with any surgical procedure, the skill and expertise of the veterinarian are essential to the operation's success. It is also vital for the pet owner to follow follow-up instructions and attend post-operative appointments to ensure a successful recovery.

Make an Informed Decision

Given the unique nature of the procedure and the animal's variable state of health, the pet owner must discuss the chances of success and possible complications with their veterinarian to make an informed decision.

In Short: Is TECA-BO The Right Choice For Your Pet?

The decision to have your pet undergo a Total ear canal ablation and bulla osteotomy procedure is important and should not be taken lightly. It is an extensive and irreversible procedure, generally performed for severe, chronic, or life-threatening ear diseases that other treatments cannot resolve. Total ear canal ablation cost around $500 to $3,500.

The efficacy and success rate of Total ear canal ablation dog are generally high, and the procedure can considerably improve the quality of life of animals suffering from persistent ear disease. However, like any surgical procedure, it carries potential risks and complications, ranging from minor, easily treatable pathologies to more serious ones, such as facial nerve damage or balance disorders.

Pet owners must have an open and thorough discussion with their veterinarian about all the options available, the advantages and disadvantages of TECA-BO, the possible consequences, and the necessary follow-up. In addition, factors such as the age of the animal, its general state of health, the severity of the ear condition, and its ability to withstand anesthesia and surgery should be considered.

Ultimately, the decision should be based on what is in the best interest of your pet's health and quality of life. Many pets undergoing the TECA-BO procedure experience pain relief and significant improvement in quality of life, making the decision easier for many pet owners.