Histopathology of cochlear implants in humans

TitleHistopathology of cochlear implants in humans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsNadol, Jr., J. B., J. Y. Shiao, B. J. Burgess, D. R. Ketten, D. K. Eddington, B. J. Gantz, I. Kos, P. Montandon, N. J. Coker, T. J. Roland, Jr., and J. K. Shallop
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology
Date Published09/2001
Call NumberDRK6841
Keywordsauditory pathology, cochlea, cochlear implants, electrode trauma, hearing, hearing loss, hearing pathology, histopathology, humans, inner ear, neo-osteogenesis, spiral ganglion cell count, spiral ganglion cells, temporal bones

The insertion of an intrascalar electrode array during cochlear implantation causes immediate damage to the inner ear and may result in delayed onset of additional damage that may interfere with neuronal stimulation. To date, there have been reports on fewer than 50 temporal bone specimens from patients who had undergone implantation during life. The majority of these were single-channel implants, whereas the majority of implants inserted today are multichannel systems. This report presents the histopathologic findings in temporal bones from 8 individuals who in life had undergone multichannel cochlear implantation, with particular attention to the type and location of trauma and to long-term changes within the cochlea. The effect of these changes on spiral ganglion cell counts and the correlation between speech comprehension and spiral ganglion cell counts were calculated. In 4 of the 8 cases, the opposite, unimplanted ear was available for comparison. In 3 of the 4 cases, there was no significant difference between the spiral ganglion cell counts on the implanted and unimplanted sides. In addition, in this series of 8 cases, there was an apparent negative correlation between residual spiral ganglion cell count and hearing performance during life as measured by single-syllable word recognition. This finding suggests that abnormalities in the central auditory pathways are at least as important as spiral ganglion cell loss in limiting the performance of implant users.