MRI Best for Cochlear Implant Diagnosis

It outperforms the more widely used CT scan, study finds

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MONDAY, Jan. 16, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- For determining the correct type and method of cochlear implant surgery, MRI examination of the inner ear works better than the more widely used high resolution CT scanning, researchers conclude.

Cochlear implants enable people with congenital hearing loss to perceive sound. Before surgery to install the implants, doctors view either MRI or CT images to check for abnormalities in the inner ear, the condition of related nerves, and obstructions in the ear ducts.

The information collected by diagnostic imaging is used to help determine which surgical technique is used on patient, the specific electrode arrays employed, and where the cochlear implant is placed.

In this study, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern compared the records of 56 cochlear implant candidates.

They found that MRI offered a more detailed view and better information on specifics.

"Thirty percent of patients we evaluated had abnormalities on MRI we would not have seen on CT, whereas in none of the patients were there findings on CT that we wouldn't have seen on MRI," study senior author Dr. Peter Roland, chairman of otolaryngology, said in a prepared statement.

"In half the patients who had abnormalities on MRI that weren't seen on CT, it made a difference in which ear was selected for implantation," Roland added.

The study was published online in Otology & Neurotology.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about cochlear implants.

SOURCE: UT Southwestern, news release, Jan. 11, 2006

Robert Preidt

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