We discuss the diagnostic value of nuclear scintigraphy in the management of infections after cochlear implantation. A 56-year-old female (Case 1) and a 46-year-old female (Case 2) developed complaints of diffuse headache, 4 and 5 months after cochlear implantation, without other signs of infection during examination, laboratorial testing and initial computed tomography. In Case 1 we performed a technetium 99 m-difosfate scintigraphy, which showed an increased uptake in the right petrosal bone, suggestive of chronic osteomyelitis. This case failed conservative treatment and underwent complete explantation, after which 67gallium-citrate single-photon emission computed tomography normalized during follow-up. In Case 2 inflammation at the site of the cochlear implant was confirmed by performing a positron emission tomography scan, which showed an increased uptake. Case 2 was treated successfully with antibiotics. Both have no signs of recurrent infection. Nuclear scintigraphy can be the single valuable tool in case of a late low-grade infection after cochlear implantation. Delayed low-grade chronic osteomyelitis of the petrosal bone is a rare but dramatic complication after cochlear implantation. It can develop with minimal signs of infection.
- Cochlear implant
- Nuclear scintigraphy