This meta-analysis compares the efficacy and safety of endoscopic and microscopic approaches to tympanoplasty and stapes surgery, two common middle ear procedures.
A comprehensive electronic search of PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library was conducted for studies published from the year 1960 through June 2018. Article selection and screening proceeded according to the strategies outlined in the standard Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis statement.
Studies were assessed for quality using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and the Jadad scale depending on the presence of randomization. Bias was analyzed using funnel plots. For each outcome measure, a forest plot was generated and a pooled relative risk or risk difference was calculated to assess significance.
Twenty-one studies met the inclusion criteria, 16 tympanoplasty (1,323 ears) and 5 stapes surgery (283 ears). The nonrandomized studies scored moderately well but the randomized studies were of low quality with respect to the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and the Jadad Scale, respectively. With respect to tympanoplasty, statistical analysis demonstrated that the endoscopic approach had significantly lower canalplasty rates, better cosmetic outcomes, and shorter operative times. Furthermore, endoscopic compared to microscopic methods were similar in terms of audiological outcome, graft success rate, and complication rate. Among stapes surgeries, the endoscopic approach demonstrated a significantly decreased incidence of postoperative pain and chorda tympani injury but was similar to the microscopic approach with respect to audiological outcome, postoperative dizziness, and operative time.
Though the merits of endoscopic techniques are becoming more well known, there are still concerns regarding their efficacy and safety. An analysis of the current literature suggests that audiological, functional, and safety outcomes are similar, if not superior, for the endoscopic approach to both tympanoplasty and stapes surgery compared to the microscopic approach. With respect to tympanoplasty, patients undergoing the endoscopic approach had lower canalplasty rates, better cosmetic outcomes, and shorter operative times. Among stapes surgeries, patients in the endoscopic group had a lower incidence of postoperative pain and injury to the chorda tympani. This meta-analysis of the current evidence supports the use of endoscopic techniques for tympanoplasty and stapes surgery.