• Children;
  • general anesthesia;
  • cochlear implantation;
  • anesthetic complications;
  • Level of Evidence: 4.



Cochlear implantation (CI) is effective in the treatment of childhood sensorineural hearing loss and is associated with minimal surgical complications. We investigated the incidence of anesthetic complications in young patients undergoing general anesthesia for CI.

Study Design:

Retrospective chart review.


A retrospective chart review of 123 patients younger than 18 years, who underwent CI between 2007 and 2008, was conducted for identification of intra- and postoperative anesthesia-related complications. The relation of collected variable to the complication events was analyzed using logistic regression.


Of the 123 CI procedures, eight patients had nine anesthesia-related complications, yielding a complication rate of 6.5% and included the following: postoperative wheezing/stridor (5 cases), laryngospasm (3 cases), and emesis during inhalational induction (1 case). Divided by age group, 12 patients were <12 months with one complication (8%), 18 patients were between 1 and 2 years with one complication (5.6%), 35 patients were between 2 and 5 years with one complication (3%), 39 patients were between 5 and 12 years with five complications (13%), and 19 patients were older than 12 years with no complication (0%). Logistic regression failed to identify a significant association of any collected variable(s) with the observed complications. The incidence of complications is similar to that previously reported in elderly patients (4.3%) (Pearson χ2, P = .523).


General anesthesia is well tolerated by pediatric patients undergoing CI, even under 1 year of age. Significant perioperative complications are primarily respiratory, are usually free of long-term sequelae, and occur with an incidence similar to other reported age groups.