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Piezoelectric technology in otolaryngology, and head and neck surgery: a review

  • C Meller (a1) and T E Havas (a1) (a2)
Abstract Background:

Piezoelectric technology has existed for many years as a surgical tool for precise removal of soft tissue and bone. The existing literature regarding its use specifically for otolaryngology, and head and neck surgery was reviewed.


The databases Medline, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed, Embase and Cambridge Scientific Abstracts were searched. Studies were selected and reviewed based on relevance.


Sixty studies were identified and examined for evidence of benefits and disadvantages of piezoelectric surgery and its application in otolaryngology. The technique was compared with traditional surgical methods, in terms of intra-operative bleeding, histology, learning curve, operative time and post-operative pain.


Piezoelectric technology has been successfully employed, particularly in otology and skull base surgery, where its specific advantages versus traditional drills include a lack of ‘blunting’ and tissue selectivity. Technical advantages include ease of use, a short learning curve and improved visibility. Its higher cost warrants consideration given that clinically significant improvements in operative time and morbidity have not yet been proven. Further studies may define the evolving role of piezoelectric surgery in otolaryngology, and head and neck surgery.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Dr Catherine Meller, PO Box 388, Willoughby, NSW 2068, Australia Fax: +61 (02) 9369 4463 E-mail:
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  • EISSN: 1748-5460
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