Preoperative computed tomography scan may fail to predict perilymphatic gusher

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2013 Jun;122(6):374-7. doi: 10.1177/000348941312200605.


Objectives: A stapes gusher is a very rare event in ear surgery, but the consequences for hearing can be dramatic. It can usually be predicted by characteristic radiologic abnormalities. We report 2 cases of gusher without any abnormalities seen on the preoperative computed tomography scans.

Methods: The first case was in a 30-year-old man with a bilateral mixed hearing loss. The gusher occurred after a stapedotomy performed with a microdrill. The oval window was plugged with a vein graft, and a fluoroplastic piston was inserted. The second case was in a 39-year-old woman with a family history of hearing loss who presented with a bilateral mixed hearing loss. The footplate was fractured during the stapedotomy drilling and was covered with a temporalis fascia graft that was fixed with a fluoroplastic piston.

Results: The first patient had no cerebrospinal fluid leakage and no vertigo or tinnitus. He did have a sensorineural hearing loss. The second patient had dizziness and tinnitus. Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging scans were performed, but again no features were identified that might have predicted these cases.

Conclusions: Surgeons should be reminded that a preoperative computed tomography scan may fail to detect the risk of a perilymphatic gusher.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiometry
  • Female
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Period
  • Radiography
  • Stapes Surgery / adverse effects*

Supplementary concepts

  • Progressive hearing loss stapes fixation