Anatomical Characteristics of Facial Nerve and Cochlea Interaction

Objective: The aim was to study the relationship between the labyrinthine portion (LP) of the facial canal and the cochlea in human inner ear molds and temporal bones using micro-CT and 3D rendering. A reduced cochlea-facial distance may spread electric currents from the cochlear implant to the LP and cause facial nerve stimulation. Influencing factors may be the topographic anatomy and otic capsule properties. Methods: An archival collection of human temporal bones underwent micro-CT and 3D reconstruction. In addition, cochlea-facial distance was assessed in silicone and polyester resin molds, and the association between the LP and upper basal turn of the cochlea was analyzed. Results: Local thinning of the otic capsule and local anatomy may explain the development of cochlea-facial dehiscence, which was found in 1.4%. A reduced cochlea-facial distance was noted in 1 bone with a superior semicircular canal dehiscence but not in bones with superior semicircular canal “blue line.” The otic capsule often impinged upon the LP and caused narrowing. Conclusion: Micro-CT with 3D rendering offers new possibilities to study the topographic anatomy of the human temporal bone. The varied shape of the cross-section of the LP could often be explained by an “intruding” cochlea.
Audiol Neurotol 2017;22:41-49

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