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June 1974

Postoperative and Postradiotherapeutic Serous Otitis Media

Author Affiliations

Charlottesville, Va
From the Department of Otolaryngology (Drs. Brill and Fitz-Hugh) and the Division of Radiation Oncology (Drs. Martin and Constable), University of Virginia Hospital, Charlottesville, Va.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1974;99(6):406-408. doi:10.1001/archotol.1974.00780030420003

Serous otitis media has been a complication of radiotherapy and surgery. Experience at the University of Virginia from July 1969 to June 1972 establishes the incidence of this complication and the relative importance of irradiation, surgical procedure, and site of primary. There was an incidence of approximately 10% in the present series. When the middle ear was irradiated by a high dose (minimum 5,000 rads in five weeks), a 17% to 50% incidence due to the radiation alone might occur, and surgery in this group would be expected to double this incidence. A further group consisted of patients with surgery involving the palate and interference with eustachian tube function. Finally, interference with lymphatic drainage as a consequence of radical neck dissection produced another small incidence. The predominant factor, however, was site of primary tumor, as this determined therapeutic approach.

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