Facial Nerve Problems and Hearing Loss in Patients With Temporal Bone Fractures: Demographic Data

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Abstract

Background:

The incidence of temporal bone fractures have increased in recent decades together with the increasing traffic and population. The aim of this study is to evaluate the cause, treatment methods, radiologic, and intraoperative findings in patients with temporal bone fractures.

Methods:

Thirty-five patients with temporal bone fracture who have been followed between 1992 and 2006 were retrospectively reviewed. Computerized tomography and audiometric tests were obtained. Electrophysiological evaluation of the facial nerve in patients with traumatic facial paralysis was carried by serial electromyogram (EMG). House-Brackmann grading system was used to evaluate the function of the facial nerve. Twenty-three patients underwent operation for facial paralysis or hearing loss. Results of medical and surgical therapy were documented.

Results:

Traffic crash was the most common cause (54%). Eighteen (51.4%) of patients had conductive hearing loss, 6 (17.14%) of the patients had sensorineural hearing loss, and 11 (31.42%) had normal hearing. Transient or persistent facial paralysis was detected in 24 of 35 patients (68.57%). Nineteen patients underwent partial or total facial decompression. Preoperative EMG of the majority of the operated patients revealed total axonal degeneration. The most common affected area of the facial nerve by trauma was the vertical segment (31.58%). House-Brackmann 1 and 2 grade was achieved in majority of the patients. Fourteen ossicular abnormalities were detected in 10 patients, and the abnormality was usually related to the incus. More than 10 dB air-bone gap closure was achieved in six of eight patients (75%).

Conclusions:

Traffic crashes continue to be the main cause of temporal bone fractures. Facial paralysis caused by temporal bone trauma can be satisfactorily treated by decompression. EMG, clinical grading, and onset of the paralysis are important guides for the surgery. Restoration of the hearing can be achieved in majority of patients.

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