The Journal of International
Advanced Otology

Cochlear Implantation After Radiotherapy of Vestibular Schwannomas


Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and Audiology, Rigshospitalet, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark


Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

J Int Adv Otol 2021; 17: 452-460
DOI: 10.5152/iao.2021.21008
Read: 2492 Downloads: 565 Published: 01 September 2021

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Vestibular schwannomas (VS) frequently lead to ipsilateral sensorineural hearing loss (HL) as part of its natural history or as a result of treatment. Cochlear implantation represents a well-documented treatment of profound HL that cannot be treated adequately with a conventional hearing aid, thus being offered to selected VS patients. A functional cochlea and cochlear nerve are prerequisites for sound perception with a cochlear implant (CI). The potential impact of radiotherapy on these structures is thus an important issue for subsequent CI hearing outcomes. The objective of this article is to present a case and to review the existing literature on the outcomes of cochlear implantation in irradiated VS patients systematically.

METHODS: A systematic literature review using preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses was conducted. Medline was searched systematically. Papers reporting ipsilateral CI outcomes after radiotherapy of VS were included. Additionally, results of CI after stereotactic radiotherapy in a 54-year-old male with neurofibromatosis type 2 are presented.

RESULTS: A total of 14 papers (33 patients) fulfilled inclusion criteria. Moderate preoperative HL was found in 11 patients. Six had moderate to severe HL, whereas 16 had severe HL or total deafness. Postoperative hearing outcomes varied from poor in 27% of patients to excellent in 19%, with remaining cases lying in between (mean follow-up of 19 months). Most patients achieved improvement in hearing and quality of life.

CONCLUSION: Despite variation in the degree of hearing outcome, CI after radiotherapy of VS appears to be effective in the majority of cases, as more than 70% of patients have good or excellent outcomes within 1-2 years post-implantation. Subjective benefits are considerable, even in cases with relatively poor objective outcome.

Cite this article as: Tian L, West N, Cayé-Thomasen P. Cochlear implantation after radiotherapy of vestibular schwannomas. J Int Adv Otol. 2021; 17(5): 452-460.

EISSN 2148-3817