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Pre-operative radiological identification of facial nerve anomalies can help prevent intra-operative facial nerve injury during cochlear implantation. This study aimed to evaluate the incidence and configuration of facial nerve anomalies and their concurrence with inner-ear anomalies in cochlear implant candidates.
Inner-ear and concomitant facial nerve anomalies were evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging and temporal high-resolution computed tomography in 48 children with congenital sensorineural hearing loss who were cochlear implant candidates.
Inner-ear anomalies were present in 11 out of 48 patients (23 per cent) and concomitant facial nerve anomalies were present on 7 sides in 4 patients (7 per cent of the total). Facial nerve anomalies were accompanied by cochlear or vestibular malformation.
Potential facial nerve abnormalities should always be considered in patients with inner-ear anomalies. Pre-operative facial nerve imaging can increase the surgeon's confidence to plan and perform cochlear implantation. Magnetic resonance imaging should be used to detect inner-ear anomalies; if these are identified, temporal high-resolution computed tomography should be used to evaluate the facial nerve.
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