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January 11, 1965


JAMA. 1965;191(2):130. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080020058019

Prior to 1950, surgery for chronic ear disease consisted mainly of radical mastoid operations in which the involved middle ear and mastoid structures were removed to eliminate chronic infection. Early in the last decade, two German otologists, Wullstein1 and Zollner, established the concepts employed in reconstructive procedures applied to the middle ear. Through their efforts hearing preservation and restoration became a second and very important indication for surgery in patients suffering from chronic ear disease.

Radical mastoidectomy can be avoided much of the time by doing an extensive simple mastoidectomy which preserves the bony ear canal. In the January issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology, Austin2 describes current methods of reconstruction which have evolved from pioneering efforts. The techniques now used emphasize the necessity for conserving all possible structure to assist in reconstruction, and rebuilding the middle ear to obtain a nearly normal anatomical configuration. To this end,