The usefulness of endoscopic examination for the diagnosis of idiopathic perilymphatic fistula (IPLF) was investigated. Eight patients presenting with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss and vertigo underwent endoscopic examination by the transtubal or transtympanic approach. In 5 out of the 8 patients, transtubal endoscopy was carried out using a superfine flexible endoscope. With this approach, no abnormal findings were visualized. A perilymphatic leak from the round window was observed in 2 patients by means of transtympanic examination using a needle scope. These findings were confirmed in both patients by microscopic observation during tympanotomy. In one patient who was finally diagnosed with IPLF, the transtympanic endoscopy failed to detect perilymphatic leakage. Although incision of the tympanic membrane is necessary for the examination, transtympanic endoscopy is useful for the diagnosis of IPLF. Further improvement of the superfine flexible fiberscope is necessary before transtubal observation of the tympanic cavity can be effectively conducted.
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