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Otol Neurotol. 2012 Sep;33(7):1181-7. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0b013e318263d56d.

Round window versus cochleostomy technique in cochlear implantation: histologic findings.

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House Research Institute, Los Angeles, California, USA.



Cochleostomy or round window enlargement techniques for cochlear implant electrode insertion result in more abnormal tissue formation in the basal cochlea and are more apt to produce endolymphatic hydrops than round window electrode insertion.


Twelve temporal bones from implanted patients were examined under light microscopy and reconstructed with 3-dimensional reconstruction software to determine cochlear damage and volume of neo-ossification and fibrosis after electrode insertion. Amount of new tissue was compared between 3 groups of bones: insertion through the round window (RW), after enlarging the RW (RWE) and cochleostomy (Cochl). The probable role of the electrode was evaluated in each case with hydrops.


More initial damage occurred in the Cochl and RWE groups than in the RW group, and the difference was significant between RWE and RW in cochlear segment I (p < 0.026). The volume of new bone in Segment I differed significantly between groups (p < 0.012) and was greater in the RWE group than in either the Cochl or RW groups (post hoc p's < 0.035 and 0.019, respectively). Hydrops was seen in 5 cases, all in the Cochl and RWE groups. Blockage of the duct was because of new tissue formation in 4 of the 5 hydrops cases.


With the electrodes in this series, implantation through the RW minimized initial intracochlear trauma and subsequent new tissue formation, whereas the RW extension technique used at the time of these implantations produced the greatest damage. Future studies may clarify whether today's techniques and electrodes will produce these same patterns of damage.

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