A retrospective study of facial nerve dehiscence encountered during middle ear surgery.
The risk is now between 0.6% and 3.6% for an initial procedure, although it rises to 4%-10% for surgical revisions.  Facial nerve dehiscence (FND) is a common anatomic variant that usually occurs in the tympanic segment above the oval window but is also encountered at the level of the geniculate ganglion and in the mastoid segment adjacent to the retro facial cells. Alternatively, FND may be attributable to longstanding middle ear inflammation with bony erosion of the facial canal such as cholesteatoma,  prior ear surgery or trauma, and the pressure effect of tumour. Baxter found that 57% of people have dehiscence of the facial canal in the oval niche. 
Di Martino et al. have compared the actual clinical findings in 357 operated cases with 300 temporal bones and have reported fallopian canal dehiscence in 6.4% of the operations and 29.3% of the autopsies.  The incidence of multiple dehiscences along the course of the fallopian canal in the same temporal bone is much higher in specimens of newborns and young children.  Good knowledge about facial nerve course is essential for middle ear surgery to be done safely. The ability to assess facial nerve dehiscence preoperatively can reduce risk the facial nerve injury and the morbidity.
It has been noted that a gestational aberration during Weeks 21-26, generally involving failure of two ossification Centre's in the tympanic segments to fuse, is responsible for facial nerve dehiscence. One of these sites is anterior to the apical otic ossification Centre, while the other abuts the canalicular ossification center, near stapedius muscle.  The aim of this study is to evaluate the incidence and the location of the dehiscent facial canal in patients operated for facial paralysis, tympanoplasty with canal down or canal up mastoidectomy, stapedotomy, middle ear exploration for sudden hearing loss, and excluding middle ear tumour.
METHODS: Retrospective study conducted at our ENT Centre for the Patients who have been operated for middle ear problems for last 3 years were included in the study. Among 103 patients, 35 were women, 68 were men with ages ranging from 7 to 60. Patients' charts, clinical notes, and operation reports were reviewed. Otoscopic findings, type of surgery used, the presence and absence of cholesteatoma, and other intraoperative findings related to the facial nerve were systematically documented.
1. Patient willing for all the investigations to undergo the surgery with ages range from 7 to 60.
2. Only middle ear diseases.
* Middle ear tumours, malignant otitis externa were the main items for exclusion criteria to rule out the possible erosive effect. Out of 103 patients, 55 were tympanoplasty with or without mastoidectomy, 16 were exploration of the middle ear for gradual or sudden hearing loss, 14 were ossiculoplasty for traumatic injury and 10 were facial nerve decompression due to paralysis not respond to medical therapy, 8 were stapes surgery for otosclerosis. Dehiscence of the facial canal was classified in 5 basic groups.
1. If the dehiscence is before the cog, it is classified as geniculate ganglion dehiscence.
2. If the dehiscence is between the second genu and the Cog, it is classified as tympanic or horizontal segment dehiscence.
3. If the dehiscence is located in the second genu, very close to the lateral semicircular canal, it is classified as dehiscence at the second genu.
4. If the dehiscence is protruding over the oval Window only, it is classified as dehiscence of oval window niche.
5. If the dehiscence is after the lower level of the oval window at the mastoid or vertical segment, it is classified as vertical segment dehiscence.
RESULTS: STATISTICAL TOOL: proportion and percentage, Chi square test Statistical data analyzed by Graph Pad Instat software Intraoperative, we found 15 ears (14.5%) demonstrated an exposed facial nerve. Of those, 12 were at the horizontal segment, 1 was at the level of second genu, 1 was at the level of oval window niche and 1 was at vertical segment.
None of the patients in this series had a combined Horizontal orr vertical segment dehiscence.
Site Exposed facial nerve % Horizontal segment 12 80% Second genu 1 6.6% Oval window niche 1 6.6% Vertical segment 1 6.6% Combined -- --
Mean: 3. Standard deviation [+ or -] 5.05. P-value: 0.001 which is considered highly significant.
Among 15 patients with facial canal dehiscent, 11 were from tympanoplasty surgery including canal wall up and down (20 %), 2 were from middle ear exploration (12.5 %). 1 was from ossiculoplasty (7.1%) and 1 was from stapes surgery (12.5%)
Ear surgery No. of No. of dehiscent % patients facial nerve Tympanoplasty with or without 55 11 20% mastoidectomy Middle ear exploration 16 2 12.5% Ossiculoplasty 14 1 7.1 % Facial nerve decompression 10 -- -- Stapedotomy 8 1 12.5% 103 15 14.5%
Mean-3. Standard deviation [+ or -] 4.5. Sample size-103. P-value found out to be 0.013 which is considered significant.
DISCUSSION: Iatrogenic facial paralysis, even now, remains a devastating complication of otologic surgery, although the incidence is low. Anatomic variants of the facial nerve, especially FND, may also increase intraoperative risks. It is important to know the nature of such defects to understand the possible underlying mechanism of facial paralysis due to chronic otitis media since a congenital dehiscence or bony defect exposes the nerve to the inflammatory effect of suppuration.
In our study, Incidence of FND in middle ear surgery was found to be 14.5% (15/103 patients), with tympanic segment alone (80%) [12/15 patients]) Most frequently involved and more commonly encountered during tympanoplasty with canal wall up and down mastoidectomy (20%). The highest incidence of exposed facial nerve has been reported to be 30-35% during surgery for middle ear cholesteatoma  Published reports place the incidence of FND anywhere from 0.5%  to 74%,  based on histological studies of temporal bone and cumulative intraoperative findings.
Tympanic segment was the most common site of involvement (77.2%) which has been stated by the authors that the main reason for this occurrence is the dehiscent facial canal or very thin canal wall most frequently found at this part exposing the nerve to the inflammation. 
Yetiser et al. have found 83.3% dehiscent facial canal in patients facial paralysis due to chronic otitis media with the most common sites being at second genu and horizontal portions . It is likely true that the bony dehiscence over the nerve is responsible for the extent of the inflammation. In our study, regarding the site of the FND, tympanic segment found to be involved in 80% followed by second genu (6.6%) also oval window niche and vertical segment sharing 6.6%. Our rate of mastoid segment FND, 6.6% was comparable to prior reports in the 1.6%  to 9%  range.
The facial canal is shaped during enchondral ossification of the otic capsule in fetal life. However, it is not completely dependent to the ossification process.  Abnormal course of the facial canal is expected in malformed temporal bones and the nerve can be exposed.  Middle ear has several traps for new beginners to otologic surgery. It is sometimes difficult to identify the facial nerve covered by a thick mucosal layer only. The frequency of iatrogenic injury to the facial nerve has declined with the advent of microsurgical techniques.
CONCLUSION: The incidence of Facial nerve dehiscence in middle ear surgery was 14.5% with preferential involvement of tympanic segment and encountered more commonly during tympanoplasty. Therefore, otologic surgeons should be particularly cautious during mastoidectomy, given these conditions. Conclusively, one out of every 10 surgical cases may have dehiscence of the facial canal which has to be always keeping in mind during surgical manipulation of the middle ear.
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S. Gurumani (1), D. Manikandan (2)
(1.) S. Gurumani
(2.) D. Manikandan
PARTICULARS OF CONTRIBUTORS:
(1.) Associate Professor, Department of ENT, Vinayaka Mission's Medical College and Hospital, Karaikal.
(2.) Final Year Post Graduate Student, Department of ENT, Vinayaka Mission's Medical College and Hospital, Karaikal.
NAME ADDRESS EMAIL ID OF THE CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Dr. S. Gurumani, E-3, Staff Quarters, Vinayaka Mission's Medical College and Hospital, Karaikal-609602. Email: email@example.com
Date of Submission: 15/09/2014.
Date of Peer Review: 16/09/2014.
Date of Acceptance: 25/09/2014.
Date of Publishing: 30/09/2014.
Percentage of dehiscent facial nerve in middle ear surgeries Tympanoplasty with or without mastoidectomy (20%) Middle ear exploration (12.5%) Ossiculoplasty (7.1%) Facial nerve decompression Stapedotomy (12.5%) Note: Table made from pie chart.
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|Title Annotation:||ORIGINAL ARTICLE|
|Author:||Gurumani, S.; Manikandan, D.|
|Publication:||Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences|
|Date:||Oct 2, 2014|
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