From Ear Pain to Incisionless Glomus Tumor Removal

While driving on the Cross Bronx Expressway in February 2021, Olga Zgutowicz experienced such excruciating pain in her ear, she had to take the nearest exit, pull over and wait for it to subside. This unusual occurrence was remedied with aspirin and several days went by without any issue. However, she later experienced an occasional ear ache, so she made an appointment with otolaryngologist/ear, nose and throat physician, Dr. Jeffrey Zauderer, of ENT Allergy Associates in Garden City, NY.

She had previously visited Dr. Zauderer for an ear infection several years prior and recalled how thorough he was. “He has excellent manners and is terrific about explaining the ear condition,” remarked Ms. Zgutowicz. Upon a comprehensive exam of her ear, Dr. Zauderer noted he saw something red in the back of her eardrum. So he scheduled Ms. Zgutowicz for a CT scan, and upon confirming he saw a mass, he then ordered an MRI.

Local ENT Escalates Care with Specialized Otologist-Neurotologist

At the follow-up visit with Dr. Zauderer, he relayed to Ms. Zgutowicz that she had a glomus tumor and recommended she see a specialist for it. Naturally, she was shocked and unsettled to hear it was a tumor, but calmly asked, “Where would you go for treatment?” He replied that Dr. George Wanna, Otolaryngology Site Chair of Mount Sinai Downtown (New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai and Mount Sinai Union Square) and Chief of Otology-Neurotology for the Mount Sinai Health System, was the best and specializes in the removal of these otologic tumors.

“I believe that if I had gone to a different otolaryngologist, it is possible he or she might have missed the tumor. Dr. Zauderer asked me several questions and looked into my ear, and then returned with different examination equipment to better visualize my ear.  He even took the liberty of sending my records to Dr. Wanna when I agreed to see him. In two days, I received calls from Care Coordinators Melinda Hernandez and Cynthia Montenegro and the next day, I had an appointment.

At her appointment with Dr. Wanna, he showed Ms. Zgutowicz the tumor and explained that it was the root cause of the thumping in her ear. “I could actually see the tumor pulsating on his video scans,” she recalls. Hence, they scheduled the surgery, which took place in April. Ms. Zgutowicz was in and out of surgery in two hours. Luckily the tumor was caught when it was small, which was a significant factor for it to be an endoscopic surgery through the ear.

“We removed Ms. Zgutowicz’s glomus jugulotympanicum tumor using a transcanal endoscopic (through the ear with no incisions) approach,” Dr. Wanna explains. “We were able to achieve gross total resection (removal), as well as preserve all of her middle ear structures.”

Reflections after Glomus Tumor Surgery

“The staff at both ENT and Allergy Associates and the Ear Institute of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai were wonderful. I had very little discomfort after surgery.”

Ms. Zgutowicz followed-up with Dr. Wanna three weeks after surgery and mentioned she was experiencing some clogging of the ear. He said she had tiny sponges in the ear to hold her eardrum up to remove the tumor. He suctioned them out and her ear was immediately unclogged.

“I now hear perfectly,” she remarked. “I would highly recommend Dr. Wanna for anyone who has had any ear condition, particularly one that is complex.

And some advice for all: “If you are experiencing any unusual sensation or pain in your ear, I encourage you to get it checked. Do not let symptoms go untreated.”

- Ms. Olga Zgutowicz