[Otological findings in adults with isolated cleft palate or cleft lip, jaw, and palate]

V Gudziol, W J Mann
Mund-, Kiefer- und Gesichtschirurgie: MKG 2004, 8 (6): 356-60

BACKGROUND: Children with cleft palate often develop middle ear ventilation disorders due to chronic Eustachian tube dysfunction. This may lead to hearing loss. The insertion of ventilation tubes is a widely accepted measure to avoid sequelae of middle ear ventilation disorders and hearing loss. On the other hand, long-term therapy with ventilation tubes may inflict iatrogenic complications. The objective of the study was the evaluation of otoscopic and audiometric long-term findings in adult cleft patients who had been treated with ventilation tubes since childhood when chronic otitis media with effusion had been observed.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Ninety-two cleft palate patients had been followed up otoscopically and audiometrically for years. The average age was 19.3 years (minimum: 14, maximum: 39 years) at the time the last status was taken.

RESULTS: Otoscopy revealed a perforation of the tympanic membrane in 3.8% of the 184 ears. 12% of the patients developed cholesteatoma, however three quarters of these occurred after age 11. 86.4% of the 92 patients had normal hearing in pure tone audiometry.

CONCLUSION: Compared with adult cleft patients who did not receive ventilation tubes, our patients had a similar low incidence of eardrum perforations but a higher incidence of cholesteatomas while hearing loss occurred less often. Whether the higher incidence of cholesteatomas is caused iatrogenically or due to a longer follow-up period remains unclear. Whether the use of long-lasting ventilation tubes affects the incidence of cholesteatomas must be proved in further studies.

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