We investigated the feasibility of using laser tissue welding techniques to perform transcanal underlay tympanoplasty. We used 10 temporal bones obtained from human cadavers. After creating a subtotal tympanic membrane perforation, we introduced harvested periosteum through the perforation and used laser tissue welding to secure the periosteum graft in place in an underlay fashion. The procedure was performed via a transcanal approach and did not require middle ear packing. Immediately after the graft had been placed, we qualitatively tested its integrity with a blunt probe. The graft was as strong as the native cadaver tympanic membrane in all 10 cases. We conclude that laser transcanal underlay tympanoplasty is a feasible and effective method of repairing a tympanic membrane. The ultimate goal is to develop a technique that will allow physicians to routinely perform underlay tympanoplasty on moderately sized perforations in an office setting.
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