Correlation between MRI findings and second-Look operation in cholesteatoma surgery

ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. Sep-Oct 2001;63(5):291-3. doi: 10.1159/000055760.


Two-staged intact canal wall tympanoplasty is a common operation for treatment of middle ear cholesteatoma. MRI provides better tissue differentiation of the middle ear and/or mastoid, which often become occupied with soft density tissue after the first operation. If MRI was able to detect the presence of a recurrent or residual cholesteatoma with sufficient sensitivity and specificity, this may facilitate a decrease in the number of second-look procedures. This study compared MRI findings to surgical findings at second-look surgery and calculated the correlation rates between the two sets of findings. Thirty ears having undergone intact canal wall tympanoplasty for cholesteatoma at the initial operation were examined by MRI prior to the second look. Otoscopic findings of the tympanic membrane were nonsuspect in all cases. The true positive rate was 11/30 (37%) and the true negative rate was 10/30 (33%), leading to a radiosurgical correlation of 70%, whereas the false positive rate was 6/30 (20%) and the false negative rate was 3/30 (10%). This indicates that 30% of the MRI findings were incorrect. Therefore, at the present time, MRI does not appear as a likely replacement for second-look surgery in cases of intact canal wall tympanoplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear / diagnosis*
  • Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear / surgery*
  • Ear, Middle / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otologic Surgical Procedures / methods*