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Otol Neurotol. 2005 Jan;26(1):12-8.

Diode laser myringotomy for chronic otitis media with effusion in adults.

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  • 1Otorhinolaryngologic Department, University of Brescia, Italy.



To analyze the closure time of diode laser-assisted myringotomies, the incidence of complications, and the hearing results in comparison with the "cold" procedure in adults with otitis media with effusion (OME).


Prospective case-control study.


Tertiary referral center, university hospital.


Twenty-eight adult patients (39 ears), 13 men and 15 women, age 13 to 76 years (mean, 51.9). Inclusion criteria included 3 months (or more) history of OME resistant to medical therapy. Twenty-two control patients (34 ears) underwent cold myringotomies with knife and ventilation tubes (VT).


Diode laser myringotomy performed in an office setting under local anesthesia with topical EMLA ointment.


Timing of closure of the myringotomy, hearing results, incidence of complications, recurrence of OME.


No intra- or postoperative pain nor complications were observed. Otomicroscopic daily monitoring documented the healing patterns of the tympanostomies, which remained patent for 7 to 25 days (average, 15.6 +/- 4.8 days). Immediate improvement of hearing was achieved in every patient. Recurrence of OME was observed in 36 ears (92.3%) within 1 month from healing. In the control group with VTs, healing of the eardrum was observed between 126 and 301 days (average, 183.2 +/- 44.8 days), and recurrence of OME was observed in 8 ears (23.5%) (p < 0.001). One month after healing, the air-bone gap was retained within 10 dB in 10.3% (4/39) of the diode laser group and in 50% (17/34) of the standard procedure group (p=0.0001).


Diode laser myringotomy is a straightforward, painless procedure simplified by the thin fiberoptic cables available. Functional benefit is comparable to conventional tympanostomies plus VTs, but the duration of patency is too short to achieve long-term clearance of the effusion in "glue" ears of adult patients. Selected indications could be acute or recurrent otitis media or the prevention of barotraumas in tubal dysfunction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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