June 15, 2007

Inserting a "shield" of cartilage into the inner ear is a less invasive and more cost-effective alternative to membrane reconstruction when treating hearing loss in selected patients suffering from chronic middle ear infections (otitis media), according to a new study published in the June 2007 edition of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

The study’s authors determined that by inserting a Type III cartilage shield through tympanoplasty as a way to replace damaged tympanic membranes, patients with hearing loss of this kind will experience, on average, an 11.22 decibel (dB) improvement in hearing quality. The study monitored 52 patients treated with a cartilage shield insertion over a seven year period.

According to the study’s authors, the method achieved results similar to reconstructing the tympanic membrane through alloplastic partial ossicular prostheses (PORPs); however, inserting PORPs is considered more invasive and costly, and in some cases not a viable option.

 Source: Medical News Today