Journal of Laryngology and Otology
Professor Wittmaack's article is a critical study of Dr. Mayer's latest theory on otosclerosis. His first theory is said to date back to 1911 and may be called the "Gefasstheorie" because the localisation of the otosclerosis foci was supposed to be related to the distribution of the terminal branches of an end-artery. This theory was abandoned in favour of the Hamartom-theory in which the otosclerosis foci are looked upon as a special form of neoplasm. The Hamartom-theory was also given up and
... he latest or third theory is called the " Callus-hypothesis." The otosclerotic foci show a superficial resemblance to certain pathological bone changes (osteitis fibrosa, Paget's disease), also to certain stages in the repair of fractures. The otosclerotic focus is supposed to be a kind of callus resulting from spontaneous fractures in the labyrinth capsule which is said to be a very brittle structure. Dr. Mayer has seen these fractures already in 60 series of sections of temporal bones and assumes that they are fairly common. Wittmaack apparently proves that the fissures described by Mayer are not fractures at all. The " fractures " are said to be mainly artefacts which arise after decalcification during the passage through the alcohol series and afterwards the hardening process in celloidin. In order to avoid an accusation of simple "Polemik," Professor Wittmaack also gives some constructive criticism. Using sections of the labyrinth which he prepared in the course of a recent experimental study, he clearly demonstrates the histology of fresh and of healing labyrinth fractures. In no instance is there the remotest resemblance between these sections and the so-called "spontaneous fractures" of Mayer. After reading this long and carefully argued criticism, one cannot help feeling convinced that Mayer's third hypothesis has little to recommend it as a serious contribution to the problem of otosclerosis.