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Stapes surgery in patients with a small air-bone gap

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August 18, 2018
by Jeremy Lavy, FRCS(ORL-HNS); Fiona McClenaghan, MRCS

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine hearing outcomes in patients undergoing stapes surgery with a preoperative air-bone gap (ABG) <21.25 dB. Patients with a unilateral or bilateral preoperative ABG <21.25 dB undergoing primary stapes surgery were identified from a database of all stapes surgeries performed in a tertiary center over 15 years. A total of 254 ears met the inclusion criteria. The primary outcome measure was the degree of closure of the preoperative ABG. A secondary outcome measure was improvement in bone-conduction thresholds at 4 kHz. All patients underwent stapes surgery under local anesthesia. Ossicular reconstruction was achieved using a SMart 360 nitinol fluoroplastic piston (Gyrus ACMI, Inc.; Southborough, Mass.), and complete posterior crurotomy was performed with a KTP laser. Hearing was assessed with clinical voice testing immediately postoperatively and with pure-tone audiometry at 6 weeks postoperatively. A total of 248 ears (97.6%) demonstrated ABG closure to <10 dB. Bone-conduction thresholds showed an increase in 114 (44.9%), no change 74 (29.1%), and a decrease in 66 (26.0%). There is a slight increase in the risk of stapes mobilization in ears with a small ABG when compared to those with larger ABGs; however, this can be overcome by using a laser-assisted technique in combination with good surgical experience. The benefit in terms of hearing aid avoidance and the restoration of symmetrical hearing is both achievable and significant for the patient.

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