By Sarah Hodge, MD and Mia E. Miller, MD
Part of our goal at House is to find ways to best inform our patients about the course of their care. Imaging studies can help us with these predictions. Utilizing MRI technology, vestibular schwannomas are not only diagnosed, but their characteristics can be studied to help outline treatment options.
A specific MRI sequence called Fluid-Attenuated Inversion Recovery (FLAIR) highlights the high protein contents in fluids. A study performed in 2008 and published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology reported that these elevated protein levels have been found in the fluids of the cochlea in patients with vestibular schwannoma. In 2014, our very own Dr. Mia Miller published an article in Otology & Neurotology investigating the relationship between the FLAIR MRI signal inside the cochlea and the hearing level in patients with vestibular schwannoma.
There have been several subsequent studies by other investigators. Our current study aims to find how immediate postoperative intracochlear FLAIR signal in patients who have undergone vestibular schwannoma resection may relate to hearing preservation. Routinely imaging patients on postoperative day one after surgery gives us a unique data set to study. The findings of this investigation could help us better counsel patients on their final hearing expectations earlier in their treatment.