Temporal bone computed tomography findings associated with feasibility of endoscopic ear surgery

Am J Otolaryngol. Nov-Dec 2017;38(6):698-703. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2017.06.007. Epub 2017 Jun 14.


Purpose: There are no formal radiologic criteria to stratify patients for transcanal (TEES) or transmastoid endoscopic ear surgery for resection of cholesteatoma. We aim to determine 1) whether standard preoperative computed tomography (CT) findings are associated with the need for conversion to a transmastoid approach and 2) the amount of time added for conversion from TEES to transmastoid techniques.

Materials and methods: Retrospective chart review of consecutive pediatric and adult cases of TEES for primary cholesteatoma from 2013 through 2015 (n=52). TEES cases were defined as endoscope-only procedures that did not require a transmastoid approach (n=33). Conversion cases were defined as procedures that began as TEES however, required conversion to a transmastoid approach due to the inability to complete cholesteatoma removal (n=19). Preoperative CT findings and total operating room (OR) times of TEES and conversion cases were compared.

Results: Preoperative CT scan characteristics that were associated with conversion included tegmen erosion (p=0.026), malleus erosion (p<0.001), incus erosion (p=0.009), mastoid opacification (p=0.009), soft tissue opacification extending into the aditus ad antrum (p=0.009) and into antrum (p=0.006). Total OR time for TEES cases was significantly shorter than conversion cases (median 143min versus 217min, p<0.001).

Conclusions: Preoperative CT findings, notably extension of soft tissue in the aditus ad antrum, antrum and mastoid, are associated with need for conversion to transmastoid technique to achieve removal of cholesteatoma. Endoscope-only cases were significantly faster than cases that required conversion to a transmastoid approach.

Keywords: Computed tomography; Endoscopic ear surgery; Tympanoplasty, cholesteatoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear / surgery*
  • Conversion to Open Surgery
  • Endoscopy*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Temporal Bone / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Young Adult