Objective To investigate whether autologous ossicles can be safely used in ossicular reconstruction in cholesteatoma surgery after attempting cholesteatoma removal under the operating microscope.
Study Design A prospective fine-section histological study of formalin-stored ossicles, harvested from cholesteatomatous ears, to evaluate for existence of residual cholesteatoma after surface disease clearance under the operating microscope.
Methods One hundred four ossicles were harvested from 76 patients with cholesteatoma for the study. These malleus heads and incudes were categorized into three groups: group 1, ossicles with retained shape and useful bulk, treated by microscopic stripping alone; group 2, ossicles with retained shape and useful bulk, treated by microscopic stripping and drilling; and group 3, badly eroded ossicles, treated by microscopic stripping alone. These treated ossicles were then subjected to 4-μm histopathological study.
Results Residual disease was identified in 6 of the 104 ossicles. Residual disease was found only in badly eroded ossicles that are not suitable for reconstruction. All the usable ossicles were free of disease.
Conclusions Autologous ossicles that have retained body and bulk are safe to use for reconstruction after surface stripping under the operating microscope. Additional burring probably adds a further margin of safety.