Facial nerve paralysis following cochlear implant surgery

Jose N. Fayad, Georges B. Wanna, Jennifer N. Micheletto, Simon C. Parisier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objectives: Facial nerve paralysis is a rare but devastating complication of cochlear implant surgery. The aims of the study were to define the incidence of facial nerve paralysis in our series and understand possible mechanisms of injury. Study Design: Retrospective chart review and case reports. Methods: Charts were reviewed of all 705 patients implanted between 1980 and 2002 at the authors' institutions to identify those with postoperative facial nerve weakness and determine incidence. For patients with facial nerve weakness, onset, degree, and timing of paralysis were noted; clinical findings were correlated to operative report findings. The method of treatment was noted, and the final facial nerve function outcome was recorded. Results: Five patients (one child and four adults) were found to have postoperative facial nerve weakness, for an incidence of 0.71%. This complication was delayed in all cases, ranging from 18 hours to 19 days postoperatively. All patients were treated with steroids or steroids combined with antiviral medication, and all ultimately recovered normal facial function. Conclusions: In the study series, the incidence of facial nerve paralysis following cochlear implant surgery was 0.71%. Possible mechanisms of injury included heating injury and viral reactivation. All patients presented with a delayed facial nerve paralysis and did recover normal facial nerve function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1344-1346
Number of pages3
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlear implant
  • Complications
  • Facial nerve


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