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The Quartile Benefit Plot: A Middle Ear Surgery Benefit Assessment Scheme



Objective: The purpose of this study is to present a new method for the assessment of hearing improvement following stapes surgery, taking into account additional, previously omitted evaluation criteria.

Study Design: Retrospective.

Methods: A quartile plot, based on the currently used Glasgow benefit plot, is structured to include two additional criteria of hearing assessment, namely the absence of postoperative sensorineural hearing loss and the closure of the air-bone gap to <10 dB. Pre- and postoperative hearing results of 132 patients diagnosed with bilateral otosclerosis and treated with bilateral stapes surgery were plotted on both the classical Glasgow benefit plot and the new quartile benefit plot. The difference in success assessment due to stricter assessment criteria is demonstrated.

Results: Functional success rate following bilateral stapes surgery as plotted on the traditional Glasgow benefit plot was 51.5%. Success rate for bilateral stapes surgery assessed on the new quartile plot with the addition of the two new criteria was 38.64%. The difference in success rates was found to be statistically significant.

Conclusion: The basis of benefit assessment in stapes surgery solely on the mean deficit in air conduction results in overestimation of success rate. This study demonstrates that results that appear satisfactory when judged by the Glasgow benefit plot are of modest success when assessed by the new quartile plot. The quartile benefit plot presented in this paper provides a strict measure of presentation and evaluation of stapes surgery results.