The role of cochlear implant positioning on MR imaging quality: a preclinical in vivo study with a novel implant magnet system

Pietro Canzi, Marianna Magnetto, Anna Simoncelli, Marco Manfrin, Federico Aprile, Elvis Lafe, Elena Carlotto, Irene Avato, Andrea Scribante, Lorenzo Preda, Marco Benazzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purposes: To investigate the effects for Ultra 3D cochlear implant (CI) positioning on MR imaging quality, looking at a comprehensive description of intracranial structures in cases of unilateral and bilateral CI placement. Methods: Four CI angular positions (90°, 120°, 135° and 160°) at 9 cm distance from the outer-ear canal were explored. The 1.5 T MRI assessment included our institutional protocol for the investigation of brain pathologies without gadolinium application. Three investigators (two experienced neuroradiologists and one experienced otoneurosurgeon) independently evaluated the MR findings. A 4-point scale was adopted to describe 14 intracranial structures and to determine which CI positioning allowed the best image quality score and how bilateral CI placement modified MRI scan visibility. Results: A high positive correlation was found between the three blinded observers. Structures situated contralateral from the CI showed high-quality values in all four placements. Structures situated ipsilaterally provided results suitable for diagnostic purposes for at least one position. At 90°, artifacts mainly involved brain structures located cranially and anteriorly (e.g., temporal lobe); on the contrary, at 160°, artifacts mostly influenced the posterior fossa structures (e.g., occipital lobe). For the bilateral CI condition, MR imaging examination revealed additional artifacts involving all structures located close to either CI, where there was a signal void/distortion area. Conclusions: Suitable unilateral CI positioning can allow the visualization of intracranial structures with sufficient visibility for diagnostic purposes. Bilateral CI positioning significantly deteriorates the anatomical visibility. CI positioning might play a crucial role for patients who need post-operative MRI surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Cochlear implant
  • Diametrically bipolar magnets
  • Implant positioning
  • MRI artifacts
  • Rotatable internal magnets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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