Recently, our group demonstrated the technical feasibility of allograft tympano-ossicular systems (ATOS) procurement directly through the external auditory canal by using a rigid endoscope. This novel technique has several advantages compared to the traditional transcranial Schuknecht bone plug technique: it avoids contact with the dura mater, it is less time-consuming and it doesn’t require a thorough reconstruction of the donor. In our tissue bank, we are currently transitioning from the transcranial procurement technique to the endoscopic procurement technique. The learning curve to master the endoscopic technique is steep but our preliminary results suggest that the percentage of good quality endoscopically procured ATOS is at least similar to the percentage of good quality transcranially procured ATOS dissected from the temporal bone plug. Additionally, the number of donations has increased significantly. By avoiding contact with the dura mater and therefore eliminating the risk of potential prion disease transmission, this technical evolution in procurement technique might allow dedicated tissue banks to (re-)introduce ATOS procurement and implantation.
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