Comparison of round window and cochleostomy approaches with a prototype hearing preservation electrode

Robert J S Briggs*, Michael Tykocinski, Jin Xu, Frank Risi, Martin Svehla, Robert Cowan, T. Stöver, P. Erfurt, Thomas Lenarz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Preservation of residual hearing in cochlear implant recipients has been demonstrated to be possible and provides the potential benefit of combined electric and acoustic auditory stimulation. A prototype 16-mm multi-channel array has been designed to facilitate placement of 22 electrodes without damage to intracochlear structures. The electrode array is suitable for insertion via the round window membrane (RWM) or a small cochleostomy. Aim: To evaluate the insertion trajectory and the presence of trauma to intracochlear structures with the prototype electrode inserted by either the RWM or a scala tympani cochleostomy. Materials and Methods: Eighteen fresh frozen human temporal bones were prepared for cochlear implantation using a standard transmastoid facial recess technique. Twelve electrodes were implanted at the University of Melbourne and 6 at the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover. In Melbourne fluoroscopy was used to monitor the insertions. Twelve prototype electrodes were inserted via the RWM. A further 6 electrodes were inserted via a small scala tympani cochleostomy. The cochleostomy was sited inferior to the RWM to avoid trauma to the basilar membrane and spiral ligament. Specimens were embedded and fixed with acrylic resin and the cochleae then examined histologically at 200-μm intervals using a grinding and polishing technique. Results: Full insertion of the electrode was achieved without significant resistance in all RWM and cochleostomy specimens. In two RWM specimens fold-over of the electrode tip occurred, and in one specimen the electrode penetrated the spiral ligament to lie in an 'endosteal 'position. In one cochleostomy specimen the electrode was rotated within the cochlea to face laterally rather than towards the modiolus. The final electrode position differed for the two groups, with the electrodes inserted via the RWM lying in a more perimodiolar position along the first part of the basal turn. The average depth of insertion was 240° for the RWM electrodes and 255° for the cochleostomy electrodes. Histologic examination showed no damage in any specimen to the modiolus, osseous spiral lamina or basilar membrane. Conclusions: A prototype hearing preservation electrode array was inserted by either a RWM or a scala tympani cochleostomy without evidence of significant intracochlear trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-48
Number of pages7
JournalAudiology and Neurotology
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlear implant
  • Cochleostomy
  • Hearing preservation
  • Prototype electrode
  • Round window membrane
  • Temporal bone

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