We conducted a retrospective study to compare the results of ossicular chain reconstruction (OCR) with two types of composite prosthesis: a hydroxyapatite-polyethylene (HAPEX) implant and a hydroxyapatite-titanium (HATi) prosthesis. We reviewed the records of 222 patients-104 males and 118 females, aged 8 to 79 years (mean: 39.7)-who had undergone OCR for ossicular chain dysfunction and who met our eligibility criteria. In addition to demographic data and the type of prosthesis, we compiled information on pre- and postoperative audiometric findings, the underlying diagnosis, the timing of surgery (primary, planned, or revision), the type of surgery (tympanoplasty alone, tympanoplasty with antrotomy, intact-canal-wall tympanomastoidectomy, or canal-wall-down tympanomastoidectomy), the extent of reconstruction (partial or total), the use of the malleus, the use of a tragal cartilage graft, and evidence of extrusion. Of the 222 patients, 46 had undergone insertion of either a partial (n = 36) or total (n = 10) ossicular replacement prosthesis (PORP and TORP, respectively) made with HAPEX, and 176 had received a PORP (n = 101) or TORP (n = 75) made with HATi. Postoperatively, the mean air-bone gap (ABG) was 14.0 dB in the HAPEX group and 14.7 dB in the HATi group, which was not a significant difference (p = 0.61). Postoperative success (ABG ≤20 dB) with PORP was obtained in 30 of the 36 patients in the HAPEX group (83.3%) and in 87 of the 101 patients in the HATi group (86.1%), while success with TORP was achieved in 7 of 10 HAPEX patients (70.0%) and 56 of 75 HATi patients (74.7%); there was no significant difference in either PORP or TORP success rates between the HAPEX and HATi groups (p = 0.32). A significantly better hearing result was obtained when the malleus was used in reconstruction (p = 0.035), but the use of tragal cartilage led to a significantly worse outcome (p = 0.026). Revision surgery was associated with a significantly worse postoperative result (p = 0.034). Prosthesis extrusion was observed in 9.0% of all cases. The two types of composite assessed in this study yielded similar results in terms of functional hearing and stability, but the HATi prosthesis had some significant advantages. For example, it was associated with more cases in which the ABG closed to less than 10 dB. In addition, because of its thinner stem and lower profile, it can be used in situations that are not possible with the HAPEX implant.
The primary goal of the surgical treatment of chronic otitis media is the eradication of disease; a secondary goal is to correct a conductive hearing loss. Achieving the second goal often requires reconstruction of the ossicular chain. The use of autologous materials, if available, is a compatible reconstruction option. However, in diseased ears, the availability of autologous materials such as the incus for interposition grafting is limited. Therefore, a wide variety of alternatives have been developed.