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The role of mastoidectomy in outcomes following tympanic membrane repair: A review

Authors

  • Steven J. Eliades MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
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  • Charles J. Limb MD

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
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  • The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Send correspondence to Charles J. Limb, MD, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 601 North Caroline Street, JHOC 6th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21209. E-mail: climb@jhmi.edu

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis

The role of mastoidectomy performed with tympanoplasty for tympanic membrane perforations in the absence of cholesteatoma remains controversial. Some authorities suggest that outcomes are improved by the pressure buffering contributed by a well-aerated mastoid. It is unclear, however, whether or not clinical evidence demonstrates a benefit by the addition of a mastoidectomy.

Study Design

Review of peer-reviewed publications.

Methods

The literature on tympanoplasty and mastoidectomy was reviewed, examining the success of tympanic membrane repair, control of drainage, and hearing improvement.

Results

Twenty-six articles were reviewed examining surgical outcomes for patients with perforations resulting from chronic suppurative otitis media without cholesteatoma. Most of the literature consisted of retrospective cohort studies and case series with only a few small prospective randomized trials. Retrospective studies were commonly biased by performing mastoidectomy in ears with worse disease, and methodological differences made comparisons between studies difficult to interpret. There was no evidence of improved outcomes following mastoidectomy compared to tympanoplasty alone. Subgroup analysis, including actively discharging ears, extensive mucosal inflammation, large or repeat perforations, or sclerotic mastoids had overall worse outcomes. These patients showed a nonsignificant trend toward slightly improved results with mastoidectomy.

Conclusions

The available literature shows no additional benefit to performing mastoidectomy with tympanoplasty for uncomplicated tympanic membrane perforations. Patients with more complicated disease may benefit from the addition of a mastoidectomy, but there is insufficient evidence to make a recommendation for this population. Further prospective controlled studies are needed.

Laryngoscope, 2013

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