Conclusion: This study demonstrates good correlation between enhanced MRI and surgical findings. Objectives: This study investigated the reliability of enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to make a surgical decision on the strategy for facial nerve decompression in herpes zoster oticus, by determining the degree of correlation between contrast enhancement in MRI and the pathologic change in the facial nerve. Subjects and methods: This retrospective study of 13 patients, who underwent facial nerve decompression with herpes zoster oticus, was designed to compare gadolinium-enhanced segment of facial nerve on MRI and the pathologically changed segment confirmed by surgical exploration, grouping them by the timing of operation after onset of facial paralysis. Results: Commonly enhanced segments on MRI were the labyrinthine, intracanalicular, and geniculate ganglion, found in 84%, 69%, and 69% of all patients, respectively. The most common pathologic segment was the labyrinthine segment (92%), followed by the geniculate ganglion (84%).
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