This review covers the most recent clinical and surgical advances made in the development and application of cochlear implants (CIs). In recent years, dramatic progress has been made in both clinical and basic science aspect of cochlear implantation. Today's modern CI uses multi-channel electrodes with highly miniaturized powerful digital processing chips. This review article describes the function of various components of the modern multi-channel CIs. A selection of the most recent clinical and surgical innovations is presented. This includes the preliminary results with electro-acoustic stimulation or hybrid devices and ongoing basic science research that is focused on the preservation of residual hearing post-implantation. The result of an original device that uses a binaural stimulation mode with a single implanted receiver/stimulator is also presented. The benefit and surgical design of a temporalis pocket technique for the implant's receiver stimulator is discussed. Advances in biomedical engineering and surgical innovations that lead to an increasingly favorable clinical outcome and to an expansion of the indication of CI surgery are presented and discussed. Anat Rec, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.