Analysis of Audiometric Outcomes following Combined Middle Cranial Fossa/Transmastoid Approaches for Spontaneous Cerebrospinal Fluid Otorrhea

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Outcome Objectives

To (1) explore audiometric outcomes following use of a combined transmastoid/middle cranial fossa (TM-MCF) approach in the treatment of spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) otorrhea and (2) determine the influence of dehiscence location and reconstructive methodology on audiometric outcomes.

Study Design

Case series with chart review.


Tertiary care center.

Subjects and Methods

Adults with spontaneous CSF otorrhea were reviewed from 2007 to 2016 if they underwent combined TM-MCF. Definitive audiometric evaluations were performed at least 3 months postoperatively. The primary outcomes measures were pre- to postoperative changes in pure-tone average (PTA) and air-bone gap (ABG). Two subset analyses were performed for audiometric outcomes comparisons: first, patients with skull base dehiscences anterior to the ossicular chain were compared with those with posterior dehiscences. Second, patients undergoing skull base resurfacing plus abdominal fat graft mastoid obliteration (AFGMO) were compared with those undergoing resurfacing alone.


A total of 28 patients and 31 ears were reviewed. There was 1 recurrent leak (3.5%). The cohort demonstrated significant improvement in mean postoperative ABG (P = .008) but not PTA. On subset analysis, ears with posterior dehiscences demonstrated significant improvements in PTA (P = .03) and ABG (P = .05), while ears with anterior dehiscences did not. In addition, ears undergoing resurfacing plus AFGMO achieved significant improvements on all parameters (P = .01). Only 3 of 15 ears undergoing resurfacing plus AFGMO experienced worsened postoperative hearing.


Use of the combined TM-MCF approach for treating spontaneous CSF otorrhea achieved good audiometric outcomes. Patients with skull base dehiscences posterior to the ossicles and those undergoing skull base resurfacing plus AFGMO achieved the most favorable results.

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