To compare the Eustachian tube patency and function after tympanoplasty with either cartilage palisades or fascia grafting after one-stage surgery in children with tensa cholesteatoma.
In children operated for tensa cholesteatoma, cartilage palisade tympanoplasty was performed in 32 ears and fascia tympanoplasty in 29 ears. The patency of the Eustachian tube was evaluated by the Valsalva maneuver before the operation, 1 to 3 months after the operation, and at a follow-up examination 46½ months later (median). Eustachian tube function was evaluated by the nine-step inflation/deflation tympanometric test and the Toynbee test at the follow-up examination. Otomicroscopy and hearing evaluation were performed before and after surgery as well as at the follow-up.
Main Outcome Measures:
Eustachian tube patency and function. Hearing, postoperative eardrum perforation/retraction, and cholesteatoma recurrence.
The Valsalva maneuver was positive in 30% of the ears before the operation, in 65% primarily after the operation, and in 78% at the follow-up examination. A poor tubal function was found in 57% at follow-up. Overall, the late functional hearing results were better in ears with a positive Valsalva maneuver. There were no differences in tubal patency or function in relation to graft material, cholesteatoma, and tympanoplasty type. In ears with a poor tubal function, the hearing results were significantly better in the palisade group (63% success), compared with the fascia group (17% success). All of the four perforations, most of the retractions, and a single moist eardrum were found in the fascia group at the reevaluation. We found no correlation between the condition of the eardrum and the Eustachian tube function at the last evaluation. However, in ears with a poor tubal function, a nonretracted, nonperforated drum was found with higher frequency in the palisade group. Decision matrix analysis showed that the last postoperative Valsalva maneuver was the best predictor of the drum condition at the reevaluation.
The Eustachian tube patency frequently improves after tympanoplasty after cholesteatoma surgery in children, regardless of graft material. The patency and function of the Eustachian tube seem to be without relation to graft material, cholesteatoma, or tympanoplasty type. Cartilage palisade tympanoplasty may be a better reconstruction technique after cholesteatoma surgery, especially in ears with a poor tubal function.