Objective: To assess current surgical techniques for scala tympani cochlear implantation among North American surgeons.
Material: A survey was distributed to all cochlear implant surgeons participating in the 2006 William House Cochlear Implant Study Group in Toronto, Canada. Participants were asked to anonymously identify their routine surgical practices. Images of trans-facial recess approaches to the round window and cochlear promontory were used in a multiple-choice fashion to assess the surgeon's typical exposure and cochleostomy location. Returned questionnaires were electronically processed and evaluated.
Results: Fifty-five (75%) of 73 returned surveys had adequate data validity and availability. Landmark identification and preferred cochleostomy locations varied greatly. About 20% of surgeons selected cochleostomy locations superior to the round window membrane. Cochleostomy size and location appeared to be influenced by surgical experience and whether or not the round window overhang was drilled off.
Conclusion: This survey clearly documents marked variations in surgical techniques for scala tympani cochlear implantation. Future studies should more clearly define the surgical anatomy of this region for appropriate placement of a scala tympani cochleostomy. These findings may ultimately have an impact on hearing and neural preservation cochlear implant surgeries.