The aim of our study was to evaluate the functional results of stapes surgery and to compare the effectiveness of small fenestra stapedotomy with that of total stapedectomy in improving hearing in patients affected by otosclerosis.
Three hundred and fifty-seven consecutive ears, in 265 patients affected by otosclerosis, underwent surgery. All cases underwent either primary small fenestra stapedotomy (group A, 196/357, 54.91 per cent) or stapedectomy (group B, 161/357, 45.09 per cent). After surgery, 256/357 (71.71 per cent) cases showed a 0–20 dB gap. There were no significant differences in hearing results between the two groups at either early or late post-operative assessment. The mean post-operative pure tone average and air–bone gap results were slightly greater for group B than for group A, at both early and late post-operative assessments, but these differences were not statistically significant. Therefore, in group A, the mean pure tone average at 4 kHz significantly improved, from 56.60 to 47.66 dB at early post-operative assessment and to 52.98 dB at late post-operative assessment.
Our study suggests that the technique of microtomy of the oval window is able to improve hearing results especially at high frequencies.