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Audiol Neurootol. 2004 Jul-Aug;9(4):197-202.

Cochlear implant candidacy and surgical considerations.

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Department of Otolaryngology, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.


Numerous changes continue to occur in regard to cochlear implant candidacy. In general, these have been accompanied by concomitant and satisfactory changes in surgical techniques. Together, this has advanced the utility and safety of cochlear implantation. Most devices are now approved for use in patients with severe to profound rather the prior requirement of a bilateral profound loss. In addition, studies have begun utilizing short electrode arrays for shallow insertion in patients with considerable low frequency residual hearing. This technique will allow the recipient to continue to use acoustically amplified hearing for the low frequencies simultaneously with a cochlear implant for the high frequencies. New hardware, such as the behind-the-ear speech processors, require modification of existing implant surgery. Similarly, the new perimodiolar electrodes require special insertion techniques. Bilateral implantation clearly requires modification of the surgical techniques used for unilateral implantation. The surgery remains mostly the same, but takes almost twice as long, and requires some modification since at a certain point, when the first device is in contact with the body, the monopolar cautery may no longer be used. Research has already begun on the development of the totally implantable cochlear implant (TICI). This will clearly require a modification of the surgical technique currently used for the present semi-implantable devices. In addition to surgically burying the components of the present cochlear implant, we will also have to develop techniques for implanting a rechargeable power supply and a microphone for the TICI. The latter will be a challenge, since it must be placed where it is capable of great sensitivity, yet not exposed to interference or the risk of extrusion. The advances in design of, and indications for, cochlear implants have been matched by improvements in surgical techniques and decrease in complications. The resulting improvements in safety and efficacy have further encouraged the use of these devices. We anticipate further changes in the foreseeable future, for which there will likely be surgical problems to solve.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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