Objectives: To demonstrate that 1) recent graduates of training programs in otorhinolaryngology–head and neck surgery are less likely to recommend/perform stapedectomy than more senior otolaryngologists; and 2) when surgery is recommended, referral is most commonly made to an otologist/neurotologist.
Study Design: Survey of 500 regional otolaryngologists pertaining to their treatment of patients with hearing loss secondary to otosclerosis.
Methods: Otolaryngologists in community practice were provided with written surveys pertaining to their treatment of otosclerosis.
Results: Data were obtained from 179 general otolaryngologists treating adults and children in solo or group private practices in our geographic region. The majority (66%) diagnosed one to five new cases per year. Ten percent of surgeons graduating in the 1970s, 25% graduating in the 1980s, 50% graduating in the 1990s, and 90% of graduates in the 2000s never performed stapedectomy as part of their practices (P < .001). Similarly, a significant number of surgeons who formerly performed stapedectomies no longer do this surgery. A trend toward greater use of hearing aids for the treatment of otosclerosis was seen in more recent graduates (P < .08). When surgery was recommended, otologists/neurotologists received the majority of referrals (75%) from the practitioners surveyed.
Conclusions: Stapedectomy is performed and recommended less often by more recent graduates of otolaryngology training programs. Training requirements for both general otolaryngologists and neurotologists may need modification given current practice patterns for stapes surgery.