MRIs Better at Diagnosing Needs for Cochlear Implants

Dr. Peter Roland taking diagnostic
action; © UT Southwestern

A cochlear implant allows patients with congenital hearing loss to bypass the problem and again perceive sound. A research team led by Dr. Peter Roland, professor of otolaryngology at UT Southwestern, has found that magnetic resonance imaging offers better diagnostic information for cochlear ear implants than the more commonly used high-resolution computed tomography.

In the first head-to-head comparison, a research team led by Dr. Peter Roland, professor and chairman of otolaryngology, found that MRIs 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," said Dr. Roland, the study's senior author.

Some of those specifics help determine which surgical technique is used, the specific electrode arrays employed and can impact in which ear the cochlear implant is placed. "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," he said.

In the study, researchers evaluated the records of 56 implantation candidates, imaging 112 temporal bones. CT scans found as few as 6 percent of certain abnormalities.; Source: UT Southwestern