Postoperative Aeration in the Middle Ear and Hearing Outcome After Canal Wall Down Tympanoplasty With Soft-Wall Reconstruction for Cholesteatoma

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Canal wall down (CWD) tympanoplasty with soft-wall reconstruction (SWR) is a unique technique for cholesteatoma surgery. The external auditory canal shape after surgery-retracted like a radical mastoid cavity or preserved intact-depends on postoperative aeration in the mastoid cavity. However, the relationship between postoperative middle ear aeration and hearing outcome with this procedure is unknown. We characterized this relationship and propose an ideal state of middle ear aeration to obtain satisfactory postoperative hearing after CWD tympanoplasty with SWR.

Study Design:

Retrospective case series.


Seventy-eight patients (78 ears) with fresh cholesteatomas treated surgically at our hospital by planned 2-stage CWD tympanoplasty and SWR were included.

Main Outcome Measures:

Postoperative middle ear aeration was scored 1 year after second-stage surgery by computed tomography. The patients were divided into 4 bins according to postoperative audiometric air-bone (A-B) gaps: 0-10, 11-20, 21-30, and greater than 30 dB.


Postoperative middle ear aeration was significantly greater in the smaller gap bins (0-10 and 11-20 dB) compared with the larger A-B gap bins (21-30 and >30 dB). In contrast to the larger A-B gap bins, those with smaller A-B gaps showed reaeration of the antrum and mastoid cavity. No significant differences were observed in postoperative middle ear aeration or hearing outcome between the 2 cholesteatoma types.


Promoting postoperative aeration of the entire middle ear is necessary to achieve better hearing outcome in patients undergoing CWD tympanoplasty and SWR for cholesteatoma.

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