French radiologists call for payments for CBCT of the ear

Conebeam CT (CBCT) is superior to CT for visualizing the ear in cases of conductive hearing loss, and hopefully it will soon be reimbursed by the national health system, delegates heard on Thursday in Paris ahead of the French national radiology meeting, Journées Francophones de Radiologie (JFR).

So far, while dental and sinus CBCT are included in reimbursed exams, CBCT of the ear is not, despite the fact that it outperforms CT for depicting tiny structures such as the stapes, cochlea, and nerves. CBCT of the ear is useful for presurgical planning and also for visualizing wire placement for cochlear implants, according to Dr. Francis Veillon, a professor of radiology at the University of Strasbourg.

"The excellent results that CBCT achieves make it indispensable for hearing loss patients. It costs money not to use it," Veillon told delegates at the pre-JFR educational day. "CBCT plays a crucial role in determining which patients are operable and which aren't."

He hopes that CBCT will become routine for examining patients with hearing loss, and he plans to lobby the government with findings from a study begun in 2018 to compare CBCT's accuracy with CT's. Veillon will include cases from other centers across France in 2020 and is hoping for a positive government decision on reimbursement in 2021.

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