The pars flaccida middle ear pressure and mastoid pneumatization index

Jacob Sadé*, Camil Fuchs, Michal Luntz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The degree of pars flaccida retraction and the levels of mastoid pneumatization were assessed and correlated in 388 adults with intact pars tensa. Poorly pneumatized mastoids were found to be associated with retraction of pars flaccida; the poorer the pneumatization, the deeper the retraction. Well pneumatized mastoids were usually associated with normal position of the pars flaccida. The pars flaccida was previously also shown to retract in face of ME negative pressure - and its degree can be seen to be an index of ME negative pressure. Thus, the correlation of deeper degrees of pars flaccida retractions with mastoid hypopneumatization (and vice versa) lends strength to the studies which show the mastoid pneumatic system to have a function of a passive ME pressure buffer. This observation lends further evidence as to why ears with poorly pneumatized mastoids are a priori at risk to develop complications such as SOM in adults, tympanic membrane retractions and perforations, incus necrosis or retraction pocket cholesteatoma. Ears with a large pneumatic system are hardly at such risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-287
Number of pages4
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


  • Atelectatic ears
  • Cholesteatoma
  • Chronic otitis media
  • Middle ear aeration
  • Middle ear pressure
  • Otitis media
  • Pars flaccida
  • Prussak space
  • Retraction pockets
  • Secretory otitis media


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