Surgical Closure of the Eustachian Tube Through Middle Fossa and Transmastoid Approaches: A Pilot Cadaveric Anatomy Study.

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BACKGROUND: Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea after temporal bone surgery involves drainage from the Eustachian tube (ET) into the nasopharynx, causing significant patient morbidity. Variable anatomy of the ET accounts for failures of currently used ET obliteration techniques.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the surgical anatomy of the ET and examine possible techniques for ET closure through middle fossa (MF) and transmastoid approaches.

METHODS: We described the surgical anatomy of the ET from the MF and transmastoid approaches in 5 adult cadaveric heads, measuring morphometric and surgical anatomy parameters and establishing targets for definite ET obliteration.

RESULTS: The osseous ET measured an average of 19.53 mm (±1.56 mm), with a mean diameter of 2.24 mm (±0.29 mm). The shortest distance between the greater superficial petrosal nerve and the ET junction was 6.61 mm (±0.61 mm). Shortest distances between the ET junction and the foramen spinosum and posterior border of the foramen ovale were 1.09 mm (±0.24 mm) and 2.03 mm (±0.30 mm), respectively. Closure of the cartilaginous ET may be performed by folding it in on itself, securing it by packing, suturing, or surgical clip ligation.

CONCLUSION: Definite obliteration of the cartilaginous ET appears feasible and the most definite approach to eliminate egress of cerebrospinal fluid to the nasopharynx using the MF approach. This technique may be used as an adjunct to skull base procedures where ET closure is planned.




Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology

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