Eustachian tube dysfunction is believed to be an important factor to cholesteatoma development and recurrence of disease after surgical treatment. Although many studies have described prognostic factors, evaluation methods, or surgical techniques for Eustachian tube dysfunction, they relied on the soft tissues of its structure; little is known about its bony structure—the protympanum—which connects the Eustachian tube to the tympanic cavity, and can also be affected by several inflammatory conditions, both from the middle ear or from the nasopharynx. We studied temporal bones from patients with cholesteatoma, chronic otitis media (with and without retraction pockets), purulent otitis media, and non-diseased ears, looking for differences between the volume of the protympanum, the diameter of the Eustachian tube isthmus, and the distance between the anterior tympanic annulus and the promontory. Light microscopy and 3-D reconstruction software were used for the measurements. We observed a decrease of volume in the lumen of the four middle ear diseased ears compared to the control group. We observed a significant decrease in the volume of the protympanic space in the cholesteatoma group compared to the chronic otitis media group. We also observed a decrease in the bony space (protympanum space) in cholesteatoma, chronic otitis media with retraction pockets, and purulent otitis media compared to the control group. We found a correlation in middle ear diseases and a decrease in the middle ear space. Our findings may suggest that a smaller bony volume in the protympanic area may trigger middle ear dysventilation problems.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by NIH NIDCD U24 DC011968, International Hearing Foundation, Starkey Hearing Foundation, and Lions 5 M International.
This project was funded by NIH NIDCD U24 DC011968, International Hearing Foundation, Starkey Hearing Foundation, and Lions 5 M International.
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
- Eustachian tube
- Middle ear disease
- Otitis media
- Retraction pockets