To evaluate, whether a learning curve for beginners in stapedotomy can be avoided by using a prosthesis with thermal memory-shape attachment in combination with a standardized laser-assisted surgical technique.
Retrospective case review.
Tertiary referral center.
Fifty-eight ears were operated by three experienced surgeons and compared with a group of 12 cases operated by a beginner in stapedotomy.
Difference of pure-tone audiometry thresholds measured before and after surgery.
The average postoperative gain for air conduction in the frequencies below 2 kHz was 20 to 25 dB and decreased for the higher frequencies. Using the Mann-Whitney-U test for comparing mean gain between experienced and inexperienced surgeons showed no significant difference (p = 0.281 at 4 kHz and p > 0.7 for the other frequencies). A Spearman rank correlation of the postoperative gain for air- and bone-conduction thresholds was obtained at each test frequency for the first 12 patients consecutively treated with a thermal memory-shape attachment prosthesis by two experienced and one inexperienced surgeon. This analysis does not support the hypothesis of a “learning effect” that should be associated with an improved outcome for successively treated patients.
It is possible to avoid a learning curve in stapes surgery by applying a thermal memory-shape prosthesis in a standardized laser-assisted surgical procedure.
*ENT-Department, University Regensburg, Germany
†ENT-Department, Sørlandet Sykehus, Kristiansand, Norway
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Pingling Kwok, M.D., ENT-Department, University Hospital Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Funding: No funding was received for this study.
The authors disclose no conflicts of interest.