a1 ENT Department, Southend University Hospital, Essex, UK
Objective: To determine the immediate and long-term taste effects of chorda tympani nerve sacrifice in patients undergoing open cavity mastoidectomy.
Design, setting and participants: A retrospective, questionnaire survey of patients receiving follow up and aural toilet following open cavity mastoidectomy, over a four-month period. The questionnaire assessed taste disturbance, both immediately post-operative and current. Available surgical records were reviewed for chorda tympani references.
Results: Of 57 patients, six had undergone surgery to both ears. Of those who could recall (37/57), 24.3 per cent were aware of taste disturbance immediately after surgery, while 8.7 per cent reported current disturbance (median post-operative interval, 28.5 years; range, one month to 67 years). No bilateral surgery patients were aware of taste disturbance.
Conclusion: Mastoidectomy consent procedure emphasises the risk of hearing loss and facial nerve injury, yet in open cavity surgery chorda tympani division is almost inevitable. Reassuringly, most post-operative taste disturbance resolves, and most patients are not aware of long-term disturbance. However, a small percentage suffer ongoing taste disturbance; this could be significant for professional chefs and wine-tasters. The risk of taste disturbance should be addressed in the consent procedure.
(Accepted May 17 2011)
(Online publication October 28 2011)
Presented at the Entex Short Papers Meeting, Section of Otology, Royal Society of Medicine, 5th February 2010, London, UK
Ms E Kiverniti takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper
Competing interests: None declared