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This was a prospective study at a single Belgian centre that aimed to monitor postoperative taste problems after middle ear surgery. The authors also looked at the influence of pathology and manipulation of chorda tympani (CT) on its function. Taste function was measured using a taste questionnaire and a chemical taste test. Exclusion criteria included concomitant autoimmune disease, chemoradiotherapy, surgery in the head and neck region, and recurrent cholesteatoma during the study. Forty patients were included in the study. The authors demonstrated that a subjective reduction in taste was a relatively frequent, yet transient, complication after middle ear surgery. The chemical taste score on the operated side significantly decreased if the CT had been stretched without visible damage in comparison to being slightly touched. The authors concluded that significant changes in chemical taste scores after CT manipulation suggest that surgeons’ intraoperative evaluations of CT manipulation and stretching may be a good predictor of postoperative taste reduction. This was an interesting study looking at chorda tympani function after middle ear surgery and suggests that we should be more aware of any manipulation of the nerve during middle ear surgery, although these effects appear to be transient.

Long-term follow-up of chorda tympani function after middle ear surgery.
Claerhout M, Leupe PJ, Verhaert N, Desloovere C.
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Sunil Sharma

Alder Hey Children's Hospital, UK.

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