Long-term Results of the Cartilage Shoe Technique to Anchor a Titanium Total Ossicular Replacement Prosthesis on the Stapes Footplate After Type III Tympanoplasty

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Multiple techniques for a more secure and stable anchoring of the foot of a total ossicular replacement prosthesis (TORP) on the footplate have been proposed. To address this issue, a technique was developed that fits a cartilage shoe into the oval niche to guide the base of the prosthesis into a preformed central perforation.


To evaluate the long-term results of the cartilage shoe technique used to anchor a titanium TORP on the stapes footplate in patients after type III tympanoplasty.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Medical record review of total ossiculoplasties at a single center. The study included all patients who had undergone a tympanoplasty using a TORP between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2008, at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Hearing thresholds were determined by a 4-frequency (500-4000 Hz) pure-tone average air-bone gap (PTA-ABG). Intraoperative findings from revision surgery and second-look operations are reported.


Forty-two ears were eligible for follow-up examination, averaging 6.8 years (range, 4.8-9.1 years) after surgery, that comprised otoscopy and audiometry. The mean age of 22 women and 20 men was 42.8 years (age range, 6-78 years). The overall PTA-ABG decreased from a mean (SD) of 33.0 (8.4) decibels (dB) before surgery to a mean (SD) of 22.0 (10.1) dB after surgery (P ≤ .001, η = 0.402). Before surgery, 64% (27 of 42) of the patients had a PTA-ABG exceeding 30 dB, which was 30 dB or less in 76% (32 of 42) of the patients after surgery. After canal wall down (n = 18) and tympanoplasties with intact canal wall (n = 24), the PTA-ABG was reduced from a mean (SD) of 33.0 (8.9) dB to 24.6 (11.2) dB (P = .01, η = 0.271) and from a mean (SD) of 32.0 (7.3) dB to 19.6 (9.2) dB (P ≤ .001, η = 0.511), respectively. For transmeatal revision ossiculoplasty (n = 33), the PTA-ABG improved from a mean (SD) of 32.0 (8.6) dB to 21.0 (10.2) dB (P ≤ .001, η = 0.389), similar to primary ossiculoplasty (n = 9), with a mean (SD) of 33.0 (5.5) dB PTA-ABG before surgery and a mean (SD) of 21.0 (9.8) dB PTA-ABG after surgery (P = .005, η = 0.478). Intraoperative findings from revision surgery (n = 11) during the study period and second-look procedures (n = 7) showed that the cartilage shoe prevented a lift off the footplate in all but 2 patients, even in the presence of recurrent cholesteatoma.

Conclusions and Relevance

The use of the cartilage shoe that anchors a titanium TORP on the stapes footplate can be advocated for good and reliable long-term results after total ossiculoplasty.

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