What Is Cochlear Implant Surgery?
CI surgery is a medical procedure in which an electronic device is implanted in the ear to provide a sense of sound for individuals with moderate to profound hearing loss. The surgery involves placing the internal components of the cochlear implant under the skin behind the ear.
The surgery typically involves making an incision behind the ear, drilling a small hole in the mastoid bone, and inserting the electrode array into the cochlea (inner ear). The internal components, including the receiver/stimulator, are secured in place, and the incision is closed.
Who Is a Candidate for Cochlear Implant Surgery?
Eligibility for CI surgery depends on the severity of hearing loss, the cause of hearing loss, and the patient’s overall health.
A comprehensive evaluation by an audiologist and an otolaryngologist is required to determine if CI surgery is the right solution.
Before the surgery, patients undergo a series of assessments, including audiological evaluations, imaging studies, and medical clearance by a physician.
As with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications, including infection, complications with anesthesia, and damage to the facial nerve.
However, CI surgery has a high success rate, and complications are relatively rare.
What Happens During Cochlear Implant Surgery?
CI surgery typically takes between two and four hours, depending on the complexity of the case. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, ensuring that the patient is asleep and comfortable throughout the procedure. After the surgery, pain is managed with medications prescribed by the surgeon.
During the surgery, the surgeon will make an incision behind the ear, insert the electrode array into the cochlea, and secure the internal components of the implant. The patient will not feel any pain during the procedure.
What Is the Recovery Process Like?
After the surgery, the patient will spend some time in the recovery room before being discharged. Post-operative care instructions will be provided, including how to care for the incision site and manage pain.
Rehabilitation is an essential part of the cochlear implant journey. After the initial healing period, the external sound processor will be activated, and the patient will begin working with an audiologist to learn how to interpret the new sounds.
The recovery process varies between individuals, but most patients can return to their normal activities within a few weeks.
Full rehabilitation and adaptation to the CI may take several months to a year. So it is important to manage your expectations and stick with the process. In the end, you may find it is the best decision of your life.
Improve Your Day-to-Day Life With CIs
CI surgery can be a life-changing experience for those with moderate to profound hearing loss. If you or a loved one are considering a CI, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our team at Audiology Associates.