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Hear Res. 2005 May;203(1-2):68-79.

A temporal bone study of insertion trauma and intracochlear position of cochlear implant electrodes. II: Comparison of Spiral Clarion and HiFocus II electrodes.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-HNS, Epstein Laboratory, University of California - San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0526, USA.


In recent years, several new designs of cochlear implant electrodes have been introduced clinically with the goal of optimizing perimodiolar placement of stimulation sites. Previous studies suggest that perimodiolar electrodes may increase both the efficiency and performance of a cochlear implant. This is the second of two studies designed to examine the positioning of electrodes and the occurrence of insertion-related injury with these newer designs and to directly compare two perimodiolar electrodes to their predecessors. In our previous report we compared the Nucleus banded electrode with the Nucleus Contour perimodiolar electrode. In the present study, using the same protocol, we examine the Spiral Clarion electrode and its successor, the HiFocus II electrode with attached positioner. Eight Spiral Clarion arrays and 20 HiFocus II electrodes with positioners were inserted into human cadaver temporal bones. Following insertion, the specimens were embedded in acrylic resin, cut in quarters with a diamond saw and polished. Insertion depth, proximity to the modiolus and trauma were evaluated in X-ray images and light microscopy. The newer electrode was consistently positioned closer to the modiolus than the previous device whereas the angular depth of insertion measured for the two electrodes was similar. The incidence of trauma was minimal when either electrode was inserted to a depth of less than 400 degrees . However, severe trauma was observed in every case in which the HiFocus II with positioner was inserted beyond 400 degrees and in some cases in which the Spiral Clarion was inserted beyond 400 degrees . To evaluate the possible role of electrode size in the trauma observed we modeled both devices relative to the dimensions of the scala tympani. We found that the fully inserted HiFocus II electrode with positioner was larger than the scala tympani in approximately 70% of temporal bones measured. The results suggest that both the Clarion spiral and HiFocus II with positioner can be inserted with minimal trauma, but in many cases not to the maximum depth allowed by the design.

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