ISSN 1308-8734 | E-ISSN 1308-8742
Original Article
A Radiological Study on the Topographical Relationships between the Vestibular, Cochlear and Facial Nerves
1 Department of Radiology, Haseki Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey  
2 Department of Mathematics, Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey  
3 Christiana Case Health System, Newark, DE, USA  
4 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey  
5 Department of Radiology, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey  
Eurasian J Med 2012; 44: 69-12
DOI: 10.5152/eajm.2012.02
Key Words: Cochlear nerve, Facial nerve, Magnetic Resonance, Topography, Vestibular nerve
Abstract

 

Objective: The purpose of our study was to investigate the topographical relationship between these nerves along their course from the brainstem through the internal acoustic canal IAC in the living human brain using MR imaging.

Materials and Methods: We performed three-dimensional gradient echo balanced Fast Field Echo (3D bFFE) sequence oblique parasagittal MR imaging in 73 healthy subjects. The IACs were analyzed from the brainstem end of the IAC to the fundus in contiguous sections. At five levels, the topographical relationships between the facial and vestibulocochlear nerves (VCN) were recorded. In the lateral portions of the IACs where they separated from each other, the relative sizes of the individual nerves were examined.

Results: In general, the facial nerve (FN), which is a round structure, is located anteriorly and superiorly to the vestibulocochlear nerve throughout its course. The vestibulocochlear nerve is usually rectangular; however, it was found to be round and at times triangular in shape near the brainstem, before it became crescent-shaped at the porus in 89% of the cases. The superior vestibular nerve kept its posterosuperior position in the canal, and the inferior vestibular nerve (IVN) and the cochlear nerve (CN) travelled inferior to it. The superior and inferior vestibular nerves were divided by the falciform crest in 53% of the cases. The inferior vestibular nerve was the smallest nerve in 52% of the cases, and the cochlear nerve was the largest in 36% of the cases.

Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this study is the largest in vivo MR study, and most of our findings differ from previous cadaver studies. Determination of these topographical relationships may facilitate our understanding of the complicated physiological relationships between the 7th and 8th nerve complexes during surgery in this region.

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