Anatomical Characteristics of Facial Nerve and Cochlea Interaction

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The aim was to study the relationship between the labyrinthine portion (LP) of the facial canal and the cochlea in human inner ear molds and temporal bones using micro-CT and 3D rendering. A reduced cochlea-facial distance may spread electric currents from the cochlear implant to the LP and cause facial nerve stimulation. Influencing factors may be the topographic anatomy and otic capsule properties.


An archival collection of human temporal bones underwent micro-CT and 3D reconstruction. In addition, cochlea-facial distance was assessed in silicone and polyester resin molds, and the association between the LP and upper basal turn of the cochlea was analyzed.


Local thinning of the otic capsule and local anatomy may explain the development of cochlea-facial dehiscence, which was found in 1.4%. A reduced cochlea-facial distance was noted in 1 bone with a superior semicircular canal dehiscence but not in bones with superior semicircular canal “blue line.” The otic capsule often impinged upon the LP and caused narrowing.


Micro-CT with 3D rendering offers new possibilities to study the topographic anatomy of the human temporal bone. The varied shape of the cross-section of the LP could often be explained by an “intruding” cochlea.

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