Changes of taste perception after stapes surgery: a prospective cohort study



Taste perception is often affected after stapes surgery despite effort to preserve chorda tympani nerve. The aim was to examine changes of particular taste qualities and their recovery after operation of otosclerosis.

Materials and methods

Taste function was prospectively investigated with a questionnaire and a taste strip test (TST) preoperatively, 3–5 days and 1 year after stapes surgery with the preservation of CTN.


In the early postoperative examination, 34/42 patients had a lower TST score, 7/42 decrease of taste in the questionnaire. One year after surgery, 11/42 patients had a lower TST score, 1/42 patients decrease of taste in the questionnaire. The most pronounced decrease in the TST score was in sweet (− 1.76 points, p < 0.001), followed by bitter (− 1.71 points, p < 0.001), salty (− 1.64 points, p < 0.001) and sour taste (− 1.33 points, p < 0.001). The sour taste had a significant lower alteration compared to others. Men had significantly pronounced alteration in salty taste compared to women. The complete recovery was proved in bitter taste. Better recovery in bitter taste was observed in patients younger than 45 years of age.


Gustatory changes after stapes surgery are mostly transient with different impairment and recovery rate for particular taste qualities. A sour taste seems to be relatively resistant to damage. The best recovery rate is in a bitter taste, especially in younger patients.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lukas Skoloudik.

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Conflict of interest

All the authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organisation or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Ethical approval

The study was conducted according to the guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki on Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects. The subjects gave written informed consent. The study was approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee (No. 202002 S16).

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Skoloudik, L., Krtickova, J., Haviger, J. et al. Changes of taste perception after stapes surgery: a prospective cohort study. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol (2021).

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  • Otosclerosis
  • Stapedotomy
  • Stapes surgery
  • Chorda tympani
  • Taste
  • Taste strip test
  • Questionnaire