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The Relationship of Surgeon Handedness and Experience on Operative Duration and Hearing Improvement in Ipsilateral and Contralateral Otologic Surgeries.


Gillian T. Barzaga

Related Institution

Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery - De La Salle University Medical Center

Publication Information

Publication Type
Publication Sub Type
Journal Article, Original
Philippine Journal of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
Publication Date
July-December 2020



Objective: To determine the relationship of the surgeon handedness and operative site laterality on operative duration and hearing improvement in otologic surgery, and to further explore whether this relationship may be related to surgeon experience.


Design: Retrospective Cohort

Setting: Tertiary Private Teaching Hospital

Participants: Seventy-three (73) patients aged 18 to 65 years old who underwent primary ear surgery under general anesthesia between January 2016 and December 2019 were retrospectively divided into two groups: 39 contralateral and 34 ipsilateral. The operative durations and hearing improvements were compared using independent t-tests, with consideration of surgeon experience in years further stratifying patients.

Results: There was no significant difference in operative duration, t(71) = 1.14, p = .26, between the contralateral (M = 281.95 minutes, SD = 71.82) and ipsilateral (M = 261.15, SD = 79.26) groups. This same pattern was more pronounced among surgeons with 10+ years of experience although there was also no significant difference in operative time, t(33) = 1.31, p = .19 for both ipsilateral and contralateral surgeries There was no statistically significant difference, t(36) = -0.72, p = .47, in overall mean hearing gain among patients in the contralateral (M = +2.22 dB, SD = 10.54) and ipsilateral (M = +5.12 dB, SD = 14.26) groups. Although the difference was also not statistically significant, t(16) = -1.94, p = .07 for contralateral (M = 0.00, SD = 5.43) and ipsilateral (M = +7.95 dB, SD = 11.52) procedures performed by surgeons with experience of 10 years or more, a mean hearing gain of +7 dB in the ipsilateral group compared to 0 dB in the contralateral group was notable.

Conclusion: This study did not prove that regardless of surgeon experience, right-handed surgeons operating on the right ear and left-handed surgeons operating on the left ear have better ear surgery outcomes of operative duration and hearing improvement compared to righthanded surgeons operating on the left ear and left-handed surgeons operating on the right ear. Future studies on larger samples with more complete data may yet demonstrate this effect.


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