Over the last 20 years, the number of stapes operations performed has decreased steadily. This inadequate exposure to stapes surgery poses problems for both trainees and trainers. We retrospectively reviewed the outcomes of stapedotomy performed by a young physician at the ENT Clinic of the “A. Gemelli” Hospital of Rome. We used the technique of “one-shot” CO2 Laser stapedotomy using a titanium-Teflon piston. For data analysis, we considered the audiograms obtained 24 hours preoperatively and at the last follow-up examination (mean 45 months). Air conduction (AC) and bone conduction (BC) PTA were calculated for 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz thresholds. Air bone gap (ABG) were obtained from ACPTA and BCPTA. Postoperative hearing gain was calculated from the ABG before the operation minus the ABG at late follow-up examination. Analysis of outcomes did not show a clear endpoint for the learning curve; complete closure of the ABG was obtained in a large number of patients at the beginning followed by patients who showed a higher ABG. Fortunately, we did not observed any “dead ear”. The study supports a learning curve in stapes surgery, but the results can vary widely among surgeries with excellent results followed by others that are not fully satisfactory. Stapes surgery should not be one of the first ear surgeries performed by a young otologist due to the functional outcome expected by patients and the lack of necessary surgical skills.
- CO2 laser
- Hearing threshold
- Learning curve
- Otorhinolaryngology2734 Pathology and Forensic Medicine