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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2019 May;276(5):1283-1289. doi: 10.1007/s00405-019-05318-7. Epub 2019 Feb 9.

Robotic cochlear implantation: feasibility of a multiport approach in an ex vivo model.

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ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern, Murtenstrasse 50, 3008, Bern, Switzerland.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Hospital Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.
ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern, Murtenstrasse 50, 3008, Bern, Switzerland.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, Bern, Switzerland.



A recent clinical trial has shown the feasibility of robotic cochlear implantation. The electrode was inserted through the robotically drilled tunnel and an additional access through the external auditory canal was created to provide for means of visualization and manipulation. To obviate the need for this additional access, the utilization of multiple robotically drilled tunnels targeting the round window has been proposed. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of electrode insertion through a robotic multiport approach.


In four ex vivo human head specimens (left side), four trajectories through the facial recess (2x) and the retrofacial and suprameatal region were planned and robotically drilled. Optimal three-port configurations were determined for each specimen by analyzing combinations of three of the four trajectories, where the three trajectories were used for the electrode, endoscopic visualization and manipulative assistance. Finally, electrode insertions were conducted through the optimal configurations.


The electrodes could successfully be inserted, and the procedure sufficiently visualized through the facial recess drill tunnels in all specimens. Effective manipulative assistance for sealing the round window could be provided through the retrofacial tunnel.


Electrode insertion through a robotic three-port approach is feasible. Drill tunnels through the facial recess for the electrode and endoscope allow for optimized insertion angles and sufficient visualization. Through a retrofacial tunnel effective manipulation for sealing is possible.


Cochlear implantation; Electrode insertion; Multiport surgery; Robotic surgery


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