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Otol Neurotol. 2004 May;25(3):308-17.

Congenital malformation of the inner ear and pediatric cochlear implantation.

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Department Otorhinolaryngology, University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



To study the surgical aspects and performance outcome of cochlear implantation in children with malformed inner ears.


Clinical and audiometric evaluation in 13 patients.


Patient data concerning surgery, postoperative follow-up, and pre- and postimplantation audiometry were obtained from the cochlear implant center's database and evaluated. A review of the literature has been included.


Tertiary referral center.


The patients had a variety of inner ear malformations and profound hearing loss. One patient with recurrent meningitis had a severe cochlear malformation (common cavity).


Major complications did not occur. In one patient with an abnormal position of the cochlea and concurring middle ear disease, it was difficult to find the scala tympani during surgery. A cerebrospinal fluid gusher was encountered in two patients and an aberrant facial nerve in another, which did not lead to any complications. The patients with mild cochlear malformation such as an incomplete partition demonstrated a good performance in speech perception tests. Even the child with the common cavity deformity had some open-set speech perception 1 year after implantation.


Viewing the patients from this study and patients from a review of the literature concerning cochlear implantation in children with malformed inner ears including severe cochlear malformations, the occurrence of an aberrant facial nerve was 17%, which increases to 27% if one reviews the surgical findings in children with severe malformed cochleae such as a common cavity or a severe cochlear hypoplasia. In the latter patients, results in speech perception vary. Although the result of cochlear implantation may be promising, as in our patient with a common cavity, during preoperative counseling the child's parents must be informed that the result is uncertain.

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