Tensor tenopexy: a clinical study to assess its effectiveness in improving Eustachian tube function and preventing hearing loss in patients with cleft palate

Raja Tiwari, Ramesh K Sharma, Naresh K Panda, Sanjay Munjal, Surinder Makkar
Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery: JPRAS 2013, 66 (9): e239-45
There is a consensus about the occurrence of otitis media in children with cleft palate before repair. However, controversy continues regarding the recovery of Eustachian tube function and level of hearing loss in the patients after cleft palate repair. Levator sling palatoplasty is an important component of the cleft repair. Most surgeons would routinely transect the tensor tendon (tensor tenotomy) during the course of palatoplasty. However, this procedure may pose a risk to Eustachian tube function. Some authorities feel that addition of tensor tenopexy during palatoplasty would maintain the Eustachian tube in an open conformation, thereby improving middle ear ventilation. The present study assesses the effectiveness of tensor tenopexy in improving Eustachian tube function and preventing hearing loss in cleft palate patients treated with palatoplasty. A prospective randomised controlled trial was conducted in the Department of Plastic Surgery at a tertiary care institute in India. A total of 17 children in the age group of 9-24 months were assigned to one of two groups: palatoplasty with either tensor tenotomy (n = 8) or tensor tenotomy with tensor tenopexy (n = 9). All patients were subjected to tympanometry, otoscopy and brainstem evoked response audiometry before surgery and at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after surgery. Of these, 52.9% of patients already had hearing loss at the time of presentation. Hearing loss and middle ear effusion persisted even after palatoplasty. There was no significant difference in hearing loss and middle ear effusion between the two groups of patients. Thus, tensor tenopexy was not found to be helpful in maintaining Eustachian tube function or preventing hearing loss in cleft palate patients. However, further long-term studies are needed to confirm this study.

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