Stapes surgery for correction of conductive hearing loss in adults with otosclerosis is a well-established procedure. Its effectiveness in children, however, has received less scrutiny in the literature. Previous studies from our and other institutions demonstrated similar results in children and adults. Between 1980 and 1994 stapedectomies were done on 95 ears of 81 patients younger than 18 years (83 primary and 12 revisions). Data regarding age of onset, family history, associated anomalies, surgical findings, technique, hearing results, and complications were reviewed. Two groups were identified: congenital stapedial fixation and juvenile otosclerosis. Patients with congenital stapedial fixation had an earlier onset of hearing loss (3 vs 10 years, P < 0.001), a greater incidence of abnormalities of the malleus and incus (25% vs 3%, P < 0.001), and a slightly greater preoperative air-bone gap (35.2 ± 12.9 vs 27.8 ± 8.9, P = 0.002). Patients with otosclerosis had a greater frequency of a positive family history of deafness (53% vs 10%, P < 0.001). Overall, 79% of primary cases and 89% of revision cases had an improvement in hearing with mean postoperative air-bone gaps of 15 dB and 22 dB, respectively. The gap did not widen significantly during the entire length of follow-u p (mean 72 months). In primary cases, 59.1% obtained a postoperative air-bone gap of 10 dB or less. Eighty-two percent of children operated on for otosclerosis obtained excellent results (postoperative air- bone gap ≤ 10 dB), compared with only 44% of children with congenital stapedial ankylosis (P = 0.02). In revision surgery, 29% of children obtained excellent results. Poorer results in both cases of congenital stapedial fixation and revision stapedectomy appear to be related to the greater incidence of associated anomalies of the malleus and incus. Indications, technique, complications, and considerations pertinent to childhood stapedectomy are discussed.
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