Postoperative infection in stapes surgery has not generally been considered a serious problem. Fortunately, the incidence is low. When it does occur, however, it can be difficult to eradicate. Postoperative otitis media is a rare complication but may result in a perforation of the tympanic membrane which later requires corrective surgery. Otitis externa is by far the most common postoperative infection, and although it usually does not cause serious difficulty, it is disturbing to both the patient and the doctor because of its tenacity. Prevention is, of course, the best way to avoid infections following surgery. Prevention begins with preoperative preparation of the external auditory canal, the surgical technique, and postoperative aural hygiene.
Sterilization of the external auditory canal may also be important in the prevention of some of the unexplained inner ear losses following stapes surgery. This became apparent to us when it was noted that the incidence of
LINTHICUM FH. Bacteria and StapedectomyA Study of 2,000 Surgical Cases. Arch Otolaryngol. 1964;80(5):489–493. doi:10.1001/archotol.1964.00750040503004