Cochlear implant surgery explained
Severe hearing loss can be corrected by implanting a cochlear device into the inner ear. The cochlear system unlike the hearing aid, which only exaggerates sound, transforms speech into electrical activity.
The cochlear implant surgery has become a routine operation which is performed in a few hours and some candidates can opt for same day surgery. This type of surgery is not recommended for everyone. Patients with too much hearing and those having good results from hearing aid are not referred for this surgery.
The cochlear device consists of two separate components, the external and the internal. The external cochlear has three parts the microphone, an external sound processor and an external transmitter. The internal segment has only a receiver. The internal part of the system is guaranteed for a lifetime. The external part of the device needs to be maintained, repaired and upgraded after a time.
The internal receiver is the section that is implanted into the ear. A small indentation is created in the mastoid bone to secure the receiver. The receiver is placed so that it is aligned with the skull. The surgeon then drill through the mastoid bone to the inner ear. The electrode from the receiver is then inserted into the cochlear, and the transmitter is then secured to the skull, and the incision is then closed.
After surgery the patient may experience a change in taste, and some pain and swelling which is normal for any inner ear surgery. An infection can lead to the removal of the device. If the procedure is successful the external part of the cochlea device will be activated in 2-4 weeks. Patients will then be taught how to get the best result from their implanted device.
In order to insert the receiver into the cochlea the surgeon has to make an incision behind the ear, and drill into the mastoid bone. A large section of this bone surrounds the ear and is susceptible to damage. The biggest risk factor is facial nerve damage, and meningitis. The nerve which allows your face to move is very close to the inner ear. Fluid leaking from in and around the ear, along with rupture of the eardrum is all considered risk factors. Being unable to insert the implant is another occurrence which is considered to be rare.
A high success rate for the cochlear implant does not prevent criticism. One of the major concern is the loss of permanent hearing in the implanted ear. The system is criticized for not being able to restore or create normal hearing.
Preservation of hearing advocates are testing a hybrid cochlear device that preserves residual low frequency acoustic hearing. The benefits would include improving word understanding,a better appreciation of music and patients would be able to differentiate fine pitch sounds.
The cochlear surgical device was first implanted about thirty years ago. Since that time more than a one hundred thousand implants has been successfully inserted in adult and children. And even babies as young as nine months has undergone this procedure.