Auditory effects of autologous fat graft for TORP stabilization in the middle ear: a cadaveric study.

09 Apr 2018

BACKGROUND: Total ossicular replacement prostheses (TORP) are often used to re-establish ossicular coupling of sound in an ear lacking a stapes supra-structure. The use of TORPs, however, is associated with a 2/3 five year failure rate due to their anatomic instability over time in the middle ear. The use of autologous fat to try and stabilize TORPs may improve long-term results with this challenging ossicular reconstruction technique. METHODS: A cadaveric temporal bone model was developed and laser Doppler vibrometry was used to measure and record round window membrane vibration in response to sound stimulation under the following conditions: normal middle ear, middle ear filled with fat, normal middle ear with TORP prosthesis, TORP prosthesis with fat around its distal end and TORP prosthesis with fat filling the middle ear. Fourteen temporal bones were used. RESULTS: There was a significant decrease in round window membrane velocity after filling the middle ear with fat in both the normal middle ear (- 8.6 dB; p < 0.0001) and prosthesis conditions (- 13.7 dB; p < 0.0001). However, there was no significant drop in round window membrane velocity associated with using fat around the distal end of the TORP prosthesis as compared to the prosthesis without fat condition (p > 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Autologous fat around the distal end of a TORP prosthesis may not be associated with any additional hearing loss, as demonstrated in this cadaveric model. The additional hearing loss potentially caused by using fat to completely surround the prosthesis and fill the middle ear is probably not clinically acceptable at this time, especially given the unknown way in which the fat will atrophy over time in this context.