Clinical studies have supported a relationship between otitis media with effusion in children and chronic otitis media in adults. Although clinical studies are numerous, relatively little is known about the histopathologic changes of the tympanic membrane in otitis media with effusion. Tympanic membranes were taken from the intermediate zone of the anteroinferior quadrant of the tympanic membrane during surgery for placement of tympanostomy tubes in 30 children (age range, 4 to 10 years) who did not show any improvement after 3 months of conservative treatment for otitis media with effusion. Control specimens were taken from normal temporal bones at autopsy. All specimens were observed with light and electron microscopy. Histologic degeneration of the tympanic membrane of patients with otitis media with effusion occurred most often in the lamina propria and the submucosal layer. There was an increase in the thickness of the tympanic membrane as a result of edema and fibrosis of the submucosal layer. A decrease in the thickness of the outer and inner fibrous layers occurred in the lamina propria. The histopathologic changes observed in the lamina propria may result in a change in the elastic properties of the tympanic membrane.
(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;120:815-819)
Sano S, Kamide Y, Schachern PA, Paparella MM. Micropathologic Changes of Pars Tensa in Children With Otitis Media With Effusion. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;120(8):815-819. doi:10.1001/archotol.1994.01880320019005