Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
Cochlear Implant surgery is a medical procedure in which a small, complex electronic device is placed under the skin behind the ear. This electronic device [Cochlear implant] helps in stimulating the auditory nerves and allows the patient to hear. This is used to bypass the function of the cochlea that transforms the sound vibrations into signals and forwards these signals to the hearing nerve [auditory nerve]. This nerve will send those signals to the brain where they are translated to recognizable sounds. The Cochlear Implant consists of :
- Implant package
- Sound and speech processor
Sound and speech processor acts like a minicomputer that processes the sound into digital information and sends this information to the implant package in the form of electrical signals. Implant package is surgically placed inside the skull that helps in stimulating the auditory nerve by the electrical signals received from the sound and speech processor.
What are the advantages of a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
Advantages of the Cochlear Implant Surgery are:
- It treats sensorineural hearing loss.
- It helps patients to hear sounds who are not able to hear due to internal ear damage [Cochlear damage].
- It can improve the communication of the patient.
- Improves the quality of life of the patient.
- It helps in the recognition of normal and everyday environmental sounds.
- A patient can hear speech without visual cues.
What are the indications of a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
Indications for the Cochlear Implant Surgery are the following:
- Hearing loss due to damage of the cochlea
- Severe deafness
- Sensorineural hearing loss
- Bilateral hearing loss
What is the preparation for a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
- The doctor may ask about your past and present medical and medication history.
- The doctor may recommend a few tests such as an audiogram.
- The doctor may examine your ears for the presence of any active infections.
- The doctor will examine the external, middle, and inner ear.
- X-rays may be taken to check the shape of the cochlea.
- CT-scan and MRI-scan may be performed.
- Physical examination will be done before undergoing the surgery.
- Discuss with your doctor about all the risks, complications, and benefits associated with the Cochlear Implant Surgery.
What are the steps involved in a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
The following are the steps involved in the Cochlear Implant Surgery:
- General anesthesia will be given to sedate you.
- As soon as you are sedated, intravenous fluids may be given and monitor all the vital signs such as blood pressure, heartbeat, and respiratory rates, etc.
- Later, the area of the scalp where the implant needed to be placed will be shaved or clean.
- Then the surgeon will make an incision behind the ear.
- A slight depression in the skull bone [mastoid bone] is made.
- A few inches away from the ear, a small hole is drilled on the skull where the internal part of the implant is placed.
- Next, the electrode array is inserted into the round window and gently passes into the cochlea.
- Now, the incisions made are closed and the external component of the cochlear implant can be worn after healing of the incisions.
What is the postprocedure care/recovery care for a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
- You may feel well enough to go home on the same day of the surgery.
- After the surgery, you may feel pressure, pain or discomfort over the implanted ear.
- Sometimes you may feel nausea and dizziness.
- You may need to return to the hospital after a week to remove the stitches.
- The cochlear implant will be activated once the surgery site is healed well.
- Training to the brain may be given to understand the sounds through the implant. This is done in rehabilitation.
Who can perform a Cochlear Implant Surgery [Right specialist type for a Cochlear Implant] Surgery?
The Cochlear Implant Surgery can be performed by:
- An experienced surgeon who has performed several successful Cochlear Implant surgeries.
- An ENT doctor with well training and experience in performing a Cochlear Implant surgery.
- An Otologist or Audiologist.
What is the cost of a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
Cost of a Cochlear Implant Surgery depends on factors such as:
- Admission fee
- Doctor fee
- Age of the patient
- The medical condition of the patient
- Type of implant used
- Post-surgical complications that are involved
- Type of hospital
- The admission room that you opted for
Minimum cost in Hyderabad starts from Rs. 1,00,000
Average price in Hyderabad is approximately Rs. 2,25,000
Maximum expenses in Hyderabad rise up to Rs. 1,64,000
Cost for Unilateral Cochlear Surgery may be Rs. 70,000
Cost for Bilateral Cochlear Surgery may be Rs.1,50,000
Is a Cochlear Implant a major surgery or minor surgery?
The Cochlear Implant Surgery is a major procedure as it involves implanting the small complex electronic device within the skull and behind the ear.
What is the eligibility criteria for a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
People who can undergo a Cochlear Implant Surgery are:
- Children and adults who are not able to hear or with hearing loss.
- Patients who are healthy and have trouble hearing in either of the ears.
- Patients who are not getting benefit from using hearing aids.
What is the ineligibility criteria for a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
People who cannot undergo a Cochlear Implant Surgery are:
- Individuals whose medical health condition is weak or poor.
- People who are suffering from hearing loss due to lesions in the acoustic nerve or central auditory pathway.
- People who are having active middle ear infections.
- Individuals with poor or absence of cochlear development.
What are the risks and complications associated with a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
Following are a few risks and complications associated with the Cochlear Implant Surgery:
- The implant may damage any remaining ability to hear
- Cerebrospinal fluid leakage
- Infection of the ear
- Blood or fluid accumulation at the site of the surgery
- Tinnitus [Ringing or buzzing sound in the ear]
- Damage to the taste nerve that passes through the middle ear
- May cause facial nerve damage
How long does it take to complete a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
The Cochlear Implant Surgery may take almost 2-4 hours to complete and sometimes it may take more than usual time depending on the medical condition of the patient and condition of the cochlea.
What is the recovery time?
Individuals who undergo a Cochlear Implant Surgery may return to their normal routine life within 1 to 2 weeks after the surgery. The doctor will not activate the implant until the scar or incision has healed.
What is the success rate of a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
The success rate of a Cochlear Implant Surgery depends on the following factors:
- Age of the patient
- The medical condition of the patient
- Condition of the cochlea
- Experience of the doctor in performing Cochlear Implant Surgery
However, the success rate of the Cochlear Implant Surgery may be 90% to 95%.
Is a Cochlear Implant Surgery painful?
Every surgery comes with a certain level of pain and some discomfort. You won't be experiencing pain during this surgery because you will be under general anesthesia. There may be some pain and discomfort in the ear after completion of the surgery.
Is a Cochlear Implant Surgery Permanent?
The Cochlear Implant Surgery is a permanent procedure as it involves placing an electronic device under the ear in the skull and helps the individual to hear.
What are the long-term results of a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
Long-term results of the Cochlear Implant Surgery are:
- Increased quality of life of the patient.
- Improves the social interaction of an individual.
- Improves hearing ability in individuals with hearing loss.
Can a Cochlear Implant Surgery be detected in the future?
In a Cochlear Implant Surgery, an electronic device is used and placed inside the skull underneath the ear. It also involves placing a sound and speech processor around the ear. Hence, a Cochlear Implant Surgery can be detected in the future.
What are the options if a Cochlear Implant Surgery fails?
If a Cochlear Implant Surgery fails, then your doctor may recommend a revision surgery of Cochlear implant.
What are the alternatives for a Cochlear Implant Surgery?
Some of the alternatives for Cochlear Implant Surgery are:
- Middle ear implants
- Auditory brainstem implants
- Bone-anchored hearing aids