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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24-28

Middle ear surgery and taste dysfunction: Prevalence and determinants

1 Department of ENT, INHS Asvini, Mumbai, India
2 Department of ENT, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Renu Rajguru
Department of ENT, INHS Asvini, Mumbai - 400 005, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aiao.aiao_9_20

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Introduction: Middle ear surgery involves handling of chorda tympani nerve. Patients after middle ear surgery may complain of taste disturbance and lingual numbness. Clinical testing of taste is not a test which is routinely performed in ENT Clinics. Consequently, the prevalence of postoperative taste dysfunction remains largely unknown. Aim: The aim of this study is to determine taste function in patients before and after middle ear surgery with a clinically suitable test and to find out the factors which determine the extent of taste dysfunction. Setting: The study design involves tertiary care hospital. Materials and Methods: This was a prospective observational study conducted from October 2017 to October 2019 in the ENT department of a tertiary care hospital. Hundred patients undergoing middle ear surgery fulfilling the inclusion criteria were considered as the study population. All patients underwent assessment of taste thrice: the day before the operation, seventh postoperative day and at 3 weeks after surgery by administering three kinds of taste testing solutions for testing sour, sweet, and salty taste in varying concentrations. Scoring was done and tabulated followed by statistical analysis. Results: Nineteen (19.0%) participants had taste disturbance after undergoing middle ear surgery. The factors which influenced whether injury to the chorda tympani causes tastes dysfunction included the age of the patient, extent of the injury, type of middle ear disease, and the type of surgery done. Conclusions: Patients undergoing middle ear surgery may exhibit taste dysfunction. However, in the majority of the cases, this goes unnoticed by the patient and is transitory. The sense of taste has a great capacity to compensate after partial dysfunction. However, preoperative information to the patients regarding the existence of potential taste disturbance, and that it is transitory usually, but is untreatable if persistent, may prevent any medicolegal problems later.

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