Surgery for tympanic membrane retraction pockets

Paul C Nankivell, David D Pothier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Tympanic membrane retractions are commonly managed by ENT surgeons. There is currently no consensus as to the indications, timing and options for management of this condition.

OBJECTIVES: To study the effectiveness of different surgical options in the management of tympanic membrane retractions.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Group Trials Register; the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library, 2010 Issue 1); PubMed (1950 to 2010); EMBASE (1974 to 2010); CINAHL (1982 to 2010); BIOSIS Previews; ISI Web of Science; CAB Abstracts; LILACS; KoreaMed; IndMed; PakMediNet; China National Knowledge Infrastructure; ISCTRN; UKCRN; ICTRP and Google. The date of the search was 17 March 2010.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of the surgical management of tympanic membrane retraction pockets in adults or children. Staging of the retraction using a known system must have been performed. Studies of cholesteatoma or perforations were excluded.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently collected and analysed data to minimise the effects of selection and reporting bias.

MAIN RESULTS: Two RCTs were included, involving 71 participants. The first study showed no statistically significant benefit of cartilage graft tympanoplasty over a watch and wait policy for either disease progression or hearing outcome. The second showed no additional benefit from the insertion of ventilation tubes over cartilage tympanoplasty alone with regards to hearing outcome.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: No evidence currently exists to either support or refute the role of surgery in the management of tympanic membrane retractions. Higher quality studies are much needed to ascertain this.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)CD007943
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Adult
  • Cartilage
  • Child
  • Ear Diseases
  • Humans
  • Middle Ear Ventilation
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Tympanic Membrane
  • Tympanoplasty


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