The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term effect on middle ear and eustachian tube function following the packing of the middle-ear space to prevent cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhoea at the termination of translabyrinthine vestibular schwannoma removal.
This was an observational study of a sample of 14 patients examined between two and five years postoperatively. Photo-otoscopy and tympanometry were performed bilaterally to evaluate appearance and function.
All operated middle ears were air-containing although eight out of 14 showed scarring as evidence of operative intervention. There were no drum retractions. Ten out of 14 middle-ear compliance peaks were lower in the operated ear with four flat traces. Two out of 14 were the same and two out of 14 showed high compliance. The middle-ear pressure was always within the normal range when determinable.
This technique appears to have no detrimental effects on the middle ear and does not permanently obliterate the eustachian tube. The reduced compliance in the majority of cases is probably a result of scarring and fibrosis. When drum hypermobility is seen this is accounted for by incus removal.