Contemporary changes with the use of facial nerve monitoring in chronic ear surgery

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014 Sep;151(3):473-7. doi: 10.1177/0194599814537223. Epub 2014 Jun 3.


Objective: There is a growing trend for the routine use of the facial nerve monitor (FNM) in chronic ear surgery. We aimed to examine current patterns in the use of FNMs in chronic ear surgery.

Study design: Descriptive design (survey).

Setting: Academic health center.

Methods: A 10-question survey was designed to identify level of training, scope of practice, specific otologic surgeries where monitoring was most used, and the opinion of respondents regarding the use of FNMs as standard of care for chronic and/or middle ear surgery. A randomized list of 2000 board-certified members of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery was generated. One thousand subjects received a mailed survey with a self-addressed return envelope and 1000 subjects received an emailed survey through

Results: There were 359 (36%) surveys returned by mail and 258 (26%) surveys returned electronically. Forty-three percent of respondents were in private practice, and 31% were fellowship trained in otology/neurotology. Sixty-five percent used a FNM in their training and 95% had regular access to a FNM. Revision mastoid surgery, cholesteatoma, canal wall down mastoidectomy, and facial recess approach were the settings where a FNM was most used. Forty-nine percent of respondents felt that a FNM should be used as the standard of care in chronic ear surgery; this represents an increase from 32% in a similar study done approximately 10 years ago.

Conclusion: There is a growing trend for routine facial nerve monitoring in the setting of chronic ear surgery.

Keywords: chronic ear surgery; facial nerve monitoring.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Chronic Disease
  • Ear Diseases / diagnosis
  • Ear Diseases / surgery
  • Facial Nerve Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / methods*
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / trends
  • Otologic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Otologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States