Intra-operative identification of a temporal bone fracture line during cochlear implant surgery: a case report

Gaelle Vofo*, Sagit Stern Shavit, Ron Eliashar, Michal Kaufmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Temporal bone fractures are divided into otic capsule sparing and otic capsule involving fractures. In the latter, hearing loss, facial nerve paralysis, cerebrospinal fluid leak and meningitis have been reported to occur. The impact of hearing loss can be devastating, especially when occurring in children, with significant risk to speech development and sound localization. In the event of hearing loss, early rehabilitation is therefore of paramount importance. Identification of an intra-operative fracture line with available images and the outcome of such cases has not been reported. Case presentation: We present the case of a 31-month-old male with an otic capsule involving temporal bone fracture, who presented with ipsilateral profound hearing loss. After all required work-up had been performed, he was admitted for a cochlear implant insertion. Per- operatively, a clear fracture line was seen at the round window niche, but a normal insertion was performed despite the anticipated potential ossification at the fracture line. The dreaded complications of cerebrospinal fluid otorrhea or non-auditory stimulation post-implant did not occur. The peculiarity of this case was its rarity, which was demonstrated by clear images that showed the fracture line on preoperative imaging and intraoperatively. Conclusion: Cochlear implantation in the presence of a visible fracture line is feasible and the surgical procedure must not be aborted at its discovery. In these cases, post-operative bacterial meningitis can occur and should be treated aggressively with systemic antibiotics to avoid contralateral ossification of the labyrinth due to labyrinthitis.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number213
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 5 May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Cochlear implant
  • Intraoperative fracture line
  • Ossification
  • Otic capsule involving fracture
  • Paediatric temporal bone trauma
  • Sensorineural hearing loss


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