Background: Endoscopic ear surgery has recently increased, but it is still inconvenient and time-consuming to place packing material in the middle ear with one hand. Poloxamer 407 (P407) is a thermo-reversible gel that can be easily administered with one hand into the middle ear cavity in liquid form. Upon warming to body temperature, the gel form of P407 can support the graft in the target position and is known to prevent postsurgical tissue adhesion. Objectives: We aim to investigate the feasibility of P407 as packing material in an animal model. Male Hartley guinea pigs (350 and 400 g) were utilized in this study. Method: The animals were randomly divided into 3 groups according to the packing material: the control group, the P407 group, and the gelatin group. To assess the role of packing material on bacterial colonization, left ears were inoculated with Streptococcus pneumoniae through the tympanic membrane using a 0° endoscope. Five days after inoculation, the middle ear cavity was packed through a transbullar approach using 18% P407 or gelatin in both ears. In the control group, no ear pack was inserted. The tympanic membrane was examined every week using a 0° 1.9-mm endoscope until 6 weeks. Half of the animals in each group were sacrificed 6 weeks after placement of the packing materials. Results: Compared with the absorbable gelatin sponge, the P407 group showed little inflammation or fibrosis in the tympanic membrane and middle ear mucosa regardless of bacterial inoculation. The gelatin group showed severe otorrhea or perforation until 2 weeks in the right ear (2 of 4) and the left ear (1 of 4). Even though the endoscopic findings were similar between both packing groups at 6 weeks, histological analysis showed persistent packing material, inflammatory cells, and fibrosis in the gelatin group compared to the P407 group. Conclusions: This study suggested that P407 is feasible as a packing material to handle with one hand and to prevent adhesion, especially in infected middle ear mucosa. Although there is a lack of data on how well P407 supports grafts, we suggest that P407 could be a candidate for packing material in endoscopic ear surgery.

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