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Electrogustometric assessment of taste after otologic surgery in children

Authors

  • Randy M. Leung MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
    • Department of Otolaryngology, Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8, Canada
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  • James Ramsden PhD, FRCS,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
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  • Karen Gordon PhD,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
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  • Brooke Allemang,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
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  • Brittany J. Harrison,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
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  • Blake C. Papsin MD, FRCSC

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
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  • Presented at the Triological Society Eastern Section Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., January 23–25, 2009.

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

Long term taste dysfunction after otologic surgery has never been characterized in children. The aim of this study is to determine the rates of gustatory dysfunction in normal and postotologic surgery in children.

Study Design:

Cross-sectional study.

Methods:

One hundred sixty children visiting a tertiary pediatric otolaryngology clinic, 4 to 18 years of age, were recruited. Surgical groups included patients who had undergone tympanoplasty, combined approach mastoidectomy, modified radical mastoidectomy, and unilateral and bilateral cochlear implantation. They were then tested using a Rion TR-06 electrogustometer (Sensonics, Inc., Haddon Heights, NJ) using a standardized protocol to assess chorda tympani nerve function. An abnormal gustometry result was defined as any recording of ≥16 dB or a difference of 6 dB between ears.

Results:

The control group had a 9% (5/61) abnormal electrogustometric threshold rate. Rates of dysfunction after surgery were: tympanoplasty (27%, 4/15), combined approach mastoidectomy (30%, 11/29), modified radical mastoidectomy (50%, 4/8). Unilateral cochlear implantation yielded a 26% (7/27) per ear risk of dysfunction, whereas bilateral cochlear implantation had a 5% (2/40) per ear risk.

Conclusions:

There is a 9% baseline level of electrogustometric abnormality in the pediatric population, which suggests a subclinical level of gustatory dysfunction. Normal electrogustometry was found in 50% of children after modified radical mastoidectomy, suggesting a degree of neural regenerative capacity. Finally, cochlear implantation, using newer surgical techniques (in the bilateral cochlear implant group) has a low risk for causing gustatory dysfunction, reducing concerns over the safety profile of bilateral cochlear implantation. Laryngoscope, 2009

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