Nervus Intermedius Guides Auditory Brainstem Implant Surgery in Children with Cochlear Nerve Deficiency

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To investigate the anatomic features of the nervus intermedius and cranial nerve VII in children with cochlear nerve deficiency and to verify whether the nervus intermedius can provide an additional landmark to help guide placement of the auditory brainstem implant electrode.

Study Design

Case series with chart review.


Tertiary referral center.

Subjects and Methods

High-definition video was captured during retrosigmoid surgery in 64 children (mean age, 3.91 ± 2.83 years) undergoing auditory brainstem implant placement. These videos were examined with particular reference to the number and variety of nervus intermedius bundles and any associated facial nerve anomalies.


Absence of cranial nerves VI, VII, and VIII was observed in 3, 6, and all 64 children, respectively. Fifteen children had several abnormalities of the facial nerve in the cerebellopontine angle. Anatomic identification of the facial nerve and the bundles composing the nervus intermedius was possible in 46 children. In 12 children, identification was possible with the assistance of intraoperative monitoring. The number of bundles composing the nervus intermedius varied from 1 to 6. The nervus intermedius and cranial nerve IX were useful landmarks for identifying the foramen of Luschka of the lateral recess.


The nervus intermedius provides an additional landmark during auditory brainstem microsurgery since it was identified in all subjects. The nervus intermedius anatomy and its topographic relationship with the neurovascular structures around the foramen of Luschka have been described for the first time in children with cochlear nerve deficiency.

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