Cholesteatoma is a destructive, erosive growth of keratinizing squamous epithelium in the middle ear cleft. Following treatment with a canal wall-up (CWU) tympanomastoidectomy, surveillance of residual and recurrent disease has traditionally been achieved through a second look tympanotomy following the initial procedure. Historically, MRI sequences have been inadequate at differentiating between granulation tissue, inflammation, and cholesteatoma. Recent literature has shown diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWMRI) to be a viable alternative to second look surgery for the detection of residual or recurrent disease. The goal of the present study was to perform a cost analysis of DWIMRI versus second look surgery in the detection of residual or recurrent cholesteatoma following combined approach tympanomastoidectomy.
A probabilistic decision tree model was generated from a literature review to compare traditional second look surgery with DWMRI. Cost inputs were obtained from the Ontario Case Costing Initiative, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) schedule of benefits. Costs were reported in Canadian dollars and a payer perspective was adopted. A probabilistic sensitivity analysis was performed.
According to the probabilistic sensitivity analysis, mean cost difference of traditional second look tympanotomy versus echo planar imaging (EPI) DWMRI was $180.27CAD, 95%CI [$177.32, $188,32] in favour of second-look tympanotomy. However, mean cost difference of traditional second look tympanotomy versus non-EPI DWMRI was $390.66CAD, 95%CI [$381.52, $399.80] in favour of non-EPI DWMRI.
Diffusion-weighted MRI, specifically non-EPI sequences, are a viable cost-saving alternative to second-look tympanotomy in the setting of detecting residual or recurrent cholesteatoma.