Insertional trauma to the cochlea from three different multichannel cochlear implant electrodes was evaluated in a single-blind controlled study in fresh human temporal bones. Sixteen fresh human temporal bones were implanted with one of three types of multichannel electrodes (Symbion/InnerAid, Cochlear/Nucleus®, or Storz/UCSF). Seven temporal bones were used as controls where a cochleostomy only was created. The temporal bones were evaluated histologically and cochlear histograms of the trauma were created.

Although the three electrode designs caused damage which was unlikely to hinder implant performance, a distinct pattern of trauma was seen with each of the three electrode types. The least traumatic of the three electrode designs in this study was the Nucleus type. The degree of insertional trauma may be relevant to changing indications for insertion of cochlear implants as well as for patients with device failure who require reimplantation.