Safety of gold in stapes surgery
Gold prostheses in middle ear surgery were found to have a higher extrusion rate than prostheses made from titanium. Incidences of deafness after insertion of a gold piston into the vestibule during stapes surgery have been observed. The aim of this study was to find out to what degree gold cations can diffuse from the prosthesis piston into the perilymph. For this, gold prostheses were incubated in artificial perilymph for four months, after which the gold content of the perilymph was analysed. As gold exhibits a special behaviour in complex fluids like the perilymph, a new analysing method was developed. The results show that gold does leak out of the pistons, that it can be reliably measured and that the amount of gold reaching the perilymph depends on the contact area. As the amount of gold measured in the perilymph stays far below the toxic level, it is very unlikely that the gold cations diffusing from a stapes prosthesis into the perilymph have a toxic effect on the inner ear hair cells. Inflammatory or allergic reactions to gold induced by direct tissue contact, however, cannot be excluded.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 26, Issue 34, December 2005, Pages 7132–7135