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A Surgeon Solves a Problem

Prior to the early 1800s, general surgeons handled ear surgery, since there were hardly any otologists at the time. One such surgeon was the accomplished Sir Astley Paston Cooper (1768-1841), who was the first to treat deafness caused by Eustachian tube obstruction with myringotomy, a procedure in which an incision is made in the eardrum to relieve pressure. John Cunningham Saunders (1773-1810), once Cooper's assistant, later pioneered its use for cases of acute inflammation of the middle ear.

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