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MRI and clinical decisions in cochlear implantation.

High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) is the standard imaging technique used in cochlear implantation. However, cochlear and retrocochlear soft-tissue abnormalities may not be detected with HRCT alone. To determine whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides clinically significant information in addition to HRCT in the evaluation of candidates for cochlear implants, we performed a prospective study of 13 consecutive patients with cochlear implant patients receiving preoperative, high-resolution fast spin-echo T2-weighted MRI scans of the temporal bone. MRI identified unanticipated cochlear fibrosis in one patient, vestibular schwannoma in one patient, patency in the second turn of the cochlea in a patient with labyrinthitis ossificans, and disproved cochlear fibrosis suspected on HRCT imaging in one patient. These findings were significant for clinical decisions regarding candidacy for surgery, side selection for surgery, and surgical technique in cochlear implantation. Our experience suggests a high-resolution T2-weighted MRI of the temporal bone should be used preoperatively in addition to HRCT before cochlear implantation.

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