Taste sensation following cochlear implantation surgery.

The chorda tympani nerve (CTN) is at risk of damage during cochlear implantation, especially during posterior tympanotomy. The aim of this study was, therefore, to elicit the risk of taste disorders following cochlear implantation surgery involving a mastoidectomy and a posterior tympanotomy approach.
Twenty-six patients underwent a taste test before, 3 days after, and 6 weeks after cochlear implantation surgery. The taste sensations - sweet, sour, salt and bitter - were determined. Patients' self-ratings of taste function were also obtained. In addition, the surgeons provided information concerning the intraoperative status of the CTN.
In total, 19.2% (5 of 26) of the patients had postoperative taste dysfunction, as measured either subjectively or objectively or both. One of these five individuals had taste disturbance as assessed by both subjective and objective measures; in another, it was merely reported subjectively. Three patients were subjectively asymptomatic but the postoperative taste test revealed a dysfunction. Sixteen percent of the patients in whom the CTN was reported to be preserved intraoperatively had a postoperative taste dysfunction. Although the CTN was rerouted in five patients, only two of them (40%) had transient gustatory dysfunction. In two of those patients with postoperative taste dysfunction, the CTN was not intraoperatively exposed (being protected by bone) despite these individuals' experiencing postoperative taste problems. The recovery rate was 100% at 6 weeks after surgery.
Our study indicates that cochlear implantation entails only a minimal risk of taste dysfunction and that this is chiefly a transient problem.
AuthorsF Alzhrani, T Lenarz, M Teschner
JournalCochlear implants international (Cochlear Implants Int) Vol. 14 Issue 4 Pg. 200-6 (Sep 2013) ISSN: 1754-7628 [Electronic] England
PMID23321682 (Publication Type: Comparative Study, Journal Article)
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chorda Tympani Nerve (injuries)
  • Cochlear Implantation (adverse effects, methods)
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Cohort Studies
  • Deafness (diagnosis, rehabilitation, surgery)
  • Dysgeusia (epidemiology, etiology, physiopathology)
  • Electrodiagnosis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intraoperative Complications (diagnosis, epidemiology)
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Care (methods)
  • Preoperative Care (methods)
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Distribution
  • Taste Disorders (epidemiology, etiology, physiopathology)
  • Taste Perception
  • Young Adult

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