Anterior subannular T-tube for long-term middle ear ventilation during tympanoplasty

Timothy O'Hare, Joel A. Goebel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: A technique for providing long-term ventilation of the middle ear (ME) during tympanoplasty is described, and the results using this technique in 20 patients with chronic Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) are reported. Study Design: This study was a retrospective, nonrandomized case review. Setting: This study was conducted at an otology clinic in a tertiary referral center. Patients: Twenty consecutive patients who underwent tympanoplasty with ETD, adhesive otitis media, or chronic otitis media with perforation were included in this study. Intervention: All patients had a subannular T-tube placed anteriorly at the time of tympanoplasty for long- term ventilation of the ME space. Main Outcome Measures: The two main outcome measures were tube position and patency. Preoperative and postoperative hearing levels were also tested in most patients, and any complications were documented. Results: Twenty patients (20 ears) received anterior subannular T-tubes at the time of tympanoplasty. Fourteen females and 6 males were evaluated (median age, 36 years; range, 7 to 72 years). All patients had ETD; 7 had adhesive otitis media, 10 had chronic otitis media, 8 had cholesteatoma, and 2 had cleft palate. All patients had conductive hearing loss and previous surgery. All patients underwent tympanoplasty; 11 had concomitant ossiculoplasty, and 5 had mastoidectomy. Follow-up ranged from 8 to 22 months (mean, 13.4 months). One patient was lost to followup. One tube extruded after 16 months. Two patients had persistent mild retraction of the tympanic membrane. All other tubes are patent and have not migrated or plugged. There has been no evidence of anterior blunting or ingrowth of epithelium around the tube. Conclusions: Anterior subannular T-tube placement is a simple, safe, and effective alternative for long-term ME ventilation in patients in whom standard transtympanic sites are not available. At their last follow-up visit, all but one patient had a patent tube. All MEs were aerated. This technique offers the advantage of ease of placement during simultaneous tympanoplasty, mastoidectomy, or ossiculoplasty. Longer follow- up is necessary to confirm these initial findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-308
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Otology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Long-term ventilation
  • Tympanostomy


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