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Retained Dental Needle Migration Across the Skull Base to the Cochlea Presenting as Hearing Loss

Casey, Justin T.; Lupo, J. Eric; Jenkins, Herman A.

doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000000690
Sensorineural Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Objectives Long-term retained foreign bodies in the human body have been reported across many specialties, but relatively few exist in the ENT literature.

Patients We present a case report of a patient with a broken dental needle fragment in the posterior oral cavity with subsequent migration to the cochlea over the course of 4 years, eventually leading to hearing loss. CT scan and middle ear exploration demonstrated a 4-cm metallic fragment abutting the base of the cochlea, immediately adjacent to the internal carotid artery.

Interventions The needle segment was removed through an endaural approach without complication.

Results Postoperatively, the patient had improvements in PTA and speech discrimination, as well as the resolution of chronic otalgia and jaw pain. Imaging, audiologic results, and surgical details and pictures are presented herein.

Conclusion To our knowledge, based on a thorough PubMed and Google Scholar search, there are no reports of such a foreign body migration from the oral cavity to the skull base.

University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Justin T. Casey, M.D., Department of Otolaryngology, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80045, U.S.A.; E-mail:

The authors disclose no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2015 by Otology & Neurotology, Inc. Image copyright © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health/Anatomical Chart Company