The following article requires a subscription:

(Format: HTML, PDF)

Objectives/Hypothesis: Cartilage-perichondrium grafting of the tympanic membrane has been used in an effort to reduce recurrence or progression of middle ear disease. The rigidity of cartilage has obvious benefit in preventing tympanic membrane retraction, but concern has been raised regarding its sound conduction properties. Few studies in the literature address hearing results after cartilage tympanoplasty. The purpose of this study was to investigate the hearing results after primary cartilage tympanoplasty and compare them with results after primary tympanoplasty with temporalis fascia.

Study Design : A retrospective review of all ear surgeries using cartilage between 1994 and 1999 was performed.

Methods: Only primary cases in which the ossicular chain was intact and no mastoid surgery was performed were included. Indications for surgery included tympanic membrane perforation, retraction, and cholesteatoma. Pre- and postoperative speech reception thresholds and air-bone gaps at 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, and 4000 Hz were compared.

Results: Eleven patients comprised the cartilage study group, and there were 11 age- and temporally matched control subjects. The mean improvement in speech reception threshold for both the study group and the control group was 10 dB. The majority of patients in both groups had ABG closure to within 10 dB at all frequencies examined. There were no statistically significant differences in speech reception threshold improvement or air-bone gap closures between the two groups.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that hearing results after cartilage tympanoplasty are comparable to those after temporalis fascia tympanoplasty. Therefore, when indicated, a cartilage-perichondrium graft can be used for prevention of disease recurrence or progression without fear of impairing hearing.

(C) The American Laryngological, Rhinological & Otological Society, Inc.