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Prevalence and complications of MRI scans of cochlear implant patients

English version

Häufigkeit und Komplikationen von MRT-Untersuchungen bei Cochlea-Implantat Patienten – English version

English version

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Cochlear implants (CI) are the preferred method of treatment for patients with severe to profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and unilateral deafness. For many years, because of the magnetic field applied during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations, MRI examinations were contraindicated for CI patients or feasible only under specific circumstances. MRI examinations of CI recipients entail complications and therefore preventive measures have to be considered. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of MRI scans in CI recipients and the occurrence of complications and furthermore to investigate the preventive measures taken in radiological daily routine.

Materials and methods

A retrospective questionnaire was sent to 482 patients that received CIs from 1999–2013. Details of the MRI examination and subjective and objective incidents during and after the MRI scan were evaluated.


A total of 204 CI recipients answered the retrospective questionnaire (42.3 %). Twenty patients (9.8 %) with 23 implants underwent a total of 33 MRI scans with their cochlear implant in place. In 16 cases the scanned region was the head (49 %). Preventive measures in the form of head bandages were taken in 20 cases (61 %). The most common complication was pain in 23 cases (70 %) and the most serious complication was the dislocation of the internal magnet in 3 cases (9 %).


The number of CI recipients undergoing MRI scans is high. Possible complications and preventive measures attract too little attention in radiological daily routine.

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Correspondence to G. Grupe.

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Conflict of interest

G. Grupe, J.Wagner, S. Hofmann, A. Stratmann, P. Mittmann, A. Ernst und I. Todt declare that this study was supported by Cochlear Ltd., Sydney, Australia.

Ethical approval has been obtained (IRB-HNO-ukb-2015/02). Laws governing data protection and data security were complied with.

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P.K. Plinkert, Heidelberg

B. Wollenberg, Lübeck

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Grupe, G., Wagner, J., Hofmann, S. et al. Prevalence and complications of MRI scans of cochlear implant patients. HNO 65 (Suppl 1), 35–40 (2017).

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