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Laryngoscope. 2013 Apr;123(4):1000-4. doi: 10.1002/lary.23316. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

The prevalence and clinical course of facial nerve paresis following cochlear implant surgery.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.



To describe the prevalence, clinical course, and outcomes of facial nerve paresis following cochlear implantation and to identify variables associated with poor definitive facial nerve function.


Retrospective cohort study with systematic literature review.


All patients who underwent cochlear implantation between January 1990 and December 2010 at a single tertiary academic referral center were reviewed. Data including clinical presentation, intraoperative findings, onset, severity, management, and outcomes of all patients who experienced facial nerve paresis following cochlear implantation were recorded.


Eight hundred eighty-eight cochlear implants (282 pediatric, 606 adult) were performed in 768 patients. Eleven patients with postoperative facial nerve paresis were identified. Ten patients (1.1%) developed delayed-onset paresis and had complete recovery within 6 months of surgery, whereas a single patient (0.1%) demonstrated immediate onset paresis and experienced incomplete return of facial nerve function. Seventeen additional cases were identified in the literature and were summarized.


Facial nerve paresis following cochlear implantation is rare. Most cases demonstrate a delayed onset and have complete recovery within months of surgery. Delayed onset facial nerve paresis following cochlear implantation heralds an excellent prognosis, whereas immediate onset facial paresis prognosticates a poorer outcome. In the absence of medical contraindications, corticosteroid therapy should be considered in facial paresis following cochlear implant surgery.

Copyright © 2013 The American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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