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Preoperative computed tomography may fail to detect patients at risk for perilymph gusher

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December 1, 2005
by Michael D. McFadden, MD; Jason G. Wilmoth, MD; Anthony A. Mancuso, MD; Patrick J. Antonelli, MD
Perilymph gusher (PG) is a very rare occurrence that can lead to an adverse outcome during inner ear surgery. In the absence of a family history of X-linked mixed deafness syndrome, surgeons may have difficulty determining if a patient is at risk preoperatively. Radiographic imaging is often performed in an attempt to identify such a possibility, but there are few data to support the value of negative studies. We conducted a retrospective study of 3 cases of PG in which findings on preoperative high-resolution computed tomography (CT) of the temporal bone had been interpreted as normal. We reviewed these CTs to discern if they did in fact demonstrate any abnormalities that might have indicated a risk of PG, and we found that the original radiologist had missed a dilated internal auditory canal and a deformity of the cochlear modiolus in the affected ear of 1 of these patients. No abnormality was detected on review of the CTs of the other 2 patients. Therefore, we conclude that negative CT findings do not necessarily rule out a risk of PG.

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