We studied the transmission of heat to the vestibule during revision stapes surgery with a piston in situ, using a CO2 laser, in an in vitro model. A type K thermocouple was placed around the medial end of stainless steel and fluoroplastic wire pistons in a ‘vestibule’ filled with saline. The effect of laser hits on fluoroplastic wire and stainless steel stapes prostheses was investigated. The effect of introducing a vein graft to seal the stapedotomy was also examined. Greater temperature rises occurred with stainless steel than with fluoroplastic wire pistons. The addition of the vein graft reduced heat transmission.
Application of the CO2 laser to fluoroplastic wire pistons, using the power settings suggested by the manufacturer, is not likely to damage the inner-ear structures. Application of 6 W laser energy to stainless steel pistons can potentially disturb the inner-ear function.