The optimal and safe intensity for facial nerve stimulation during intraoperative neuromonitoring in middle ear surgery

Euyhyun Park, Hyunjung Kim, Hye Min Han, In Hak Choi, Hak Hyun Jung, Gi Jung Im

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Objective This study aimed to investigate the optimal and safe intensity for facial nerve stimulation during middle ear surgery. Methods Thirty-seven patients who had their facial nerve exposed prior to surgery were prospectively enrolled in this study, and electromyography (EMG) recordings were obtained from the orbicularis oculi and orbicularis oris muscles. Four pigs were also enrolled in an animal study, and continuous stimulation was performed on the facial nerves of the pigs for 10 minutes. The EMG responses were measured and the pathologic outcomes of the facial nerve after stimulation were determined. Results In the human study, the mean intensity of the minimal electrical stimulation threshold was 0.21 mA (range: 0.1–0.3 mA). A linear correlation was observed between stimulus intensity and response amplitude for intensities below 0.4 mA. Response amplitudes reached a plateau between 0.4 mA and 1.0 mA. The minimal stimulus intensity that could generate a maximal response was 0.4 mA in the orbicularis oculi (244 μV) and orbicularis oris (545 μV). In the animal study, there were no observed changes in EMG or nerve damage incidence after the continuous stimulation of 3.0 mA. Conclusions 0.4 mA is considered to be the optimal intensity of facial nerve stimulation during middle ear surgery, and it was estimated through the animal study that a stimulation of 3.0 mA is safe from facial nerve damage.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0221748
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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