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Original Article
April 2006

Revision Cochlear Implantation for Facial Nerve Stimulation in Otosclerosis

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: University of Miami Ear Institute, Miami, Fla.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006;132(4):398-404. doi:10.1001/archotol.132.4.398

Objective  To find if patients experiencing postsurgical facial nerve stimulation caused by underlying disease process (ie, otosclerosis) can improve their hearing performance with their cochlear implant by reimplantation and by an optimal programming strategy.

Design  Retrospective analysis.

Setting  Academic tertiary referral center.

Patients  Two cochlear otosclerosis patients with resistant facial nerve stimulation (FNS). Both patients were initially implanted with Nucleus 22 devices (Cochlear Corporation, Englewood, Colo) and they developed FNS after a period of use. Owing to the decreasing number of active electrodes, concurrent decreases in speech understanding occurred.

Interventions  Various programming approaches were used to address the FNS. Both subjects ultimately received Nucleus 24 devices. One was reimplanted in the same ear, and the other was implanted in the opposite ear. Both have been followed up for 8 months following the reimplantation.

Main Outcome Measures  Cochlear implant programming levels, cochlear implant performance, and facial nerve stimulation.

Results  The FNS was managed for more than 3 years through optimized programming. However, the FNS progressed until performance dropped below acceptable levels. Reimplantation was believed to be the only option for improvement. After reimplantation and programming, both subjects showed immediate improvement in speech discrimination. One user increased his consonant-nucleus-consonant word score from 12% preoperatively to 42%, and the other's performance increased from 0% to 86%.

Conclusions  Our results suggest that having more programming options with newer devices is critical in otosclerotic or ossified users who experience FNS. Also, reimplantation may be a useful tool to improve performance.