Tubes Not Linked to Poor Cochlear Implant Outcomes

Study included children who received myringotomy tubes before getting cochlear implants

TUESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Myringotomy tubes (MT) don't appear to adversely affect final outcomes in children who receive cochlear implants (CI), and they can be managed like tubes in other children who are prone to otitis media, according to research published in the June issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Christopher F. Barañano, M.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School, and colleagues analyzed data from 62 children who received an MT before CI. The mean age at receiving the implant was 3.2 years.

The researchers found that in cases in which tubes were removed before the CI or were left in place until the implant, a similar number of ears required a separate tube after the implant (22 and 19 percent, respectively). Tubes that were present at the implant were removed with myringoplasty (31 percent) or retained after surgery (69 percent). All tympanic membranes from which tubes were removed before or during the implant healed. Three persistent perforations required surgical treatment. No cases of meningitis or implant removals due to infection were noted.

"The minimization of potential infectious complications is a priority for the CI surgeon who is operating on a child with a history of MT placement. While manipulation of the tympanic membrane with MT insertion, MT exchange, or perforation repair is not without risks, in the current study the management of the MT before CI did not adversely affect outcomes," the authors conclude.

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