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Facial nerve stimulation in adult cochlear implant recipients with far advanced otosclerosis.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to predict occurrence of facial nerve stimulation (FNS) in cochlear implanted patients for far-advanced otosclerosis (FAO) by correlating preoperative computed tomography (CT)-scan data to FNS and to evaluate FNS impact on hearing outcomes.

METHODS: Retrospective analysis on 91 ears (76 patients) implanted for FAO. Electrodes were straight (50%) or perimodiolar (50%). Demographic data, extension of otosclerosis on preoperative CT scan, occurrence of FNS, and speech performance were analyzed.

RESULTS: Prevalence of FNS was 21% (19 ears). FNS appeared during the first month (21%), 1-6 months (26%), 6-12 months (21%), and over 1 year (32%) postimplantation. Cumulative incidence of FNS at 15 years was 33% (95% CI = [14-47%]). Extension of otosclerotic lesions on preimplantation CT-scan was more severe in FNS ears compared to No-FNS ( p  < .05): for Stage III, 13/19 (68%) and 18/72 (25%) ears for FNS and No-FNS groups, respectively ( p  < .05). Location of otosclerotic lesions relative to the facial nerve canal was similar whatever the presence or not of FNS. Electrode array had no impact on FNS occurrence. At 1 year post-implantation, duration of profound hearing loss (≥5 years) and previous stapedotomy were negatively associated with speech performance. FNS did not impact hearing outcomes, despite a lower percentage of activated electrodes ( p  < .01) in the FNS group. Nevertheless, FNS were associated with a decrease of speech performance both in quiet ( p  < .001) and in noise ( p  < .05).

CONCLUSION: Cochlear implanted patients for FAO are at greater risk of developing FNS affecting speech performance over time, probably due to a higher percentage of deactivated electrodes. High resolution CT-scan is an essential tool allowing FNS prediction but not time of onset.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 2b, Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology, 2022.

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