Cochlear implant surgery typically lasts 2-3 hours, with additional time necessary for the administration of anesthesia and time in the recovery room to awaken.
A cochlear implant candidate is someone who is likely to obtain more benefit from an implant than from traditional amplification (hearing aids). It is important to ensure that potential recipients and their families are well informed regarding all aspects of cochlear implantation. The evaluation process typically involves consultation with various professionals and comprehensive testing in order to fully determine the individual’s level of communicative function. More about pre-operative visits.
Some cochlear implant surgery patients are required to receive additional vaccinations to reduce the risk of bacterial meningitis after receiving the implant. Review the cochlear implant vaccination requirements.
To help achieve a smooth transition to the operating room, young cochlear implant patients may receive a sedative before leaving their patient room. Most children are sleeping by the time they go to the operating room. General anesthesia is very safe. Our board certified physician anesthesiologists have extensive experience anesthetizing infants and small children, as well as adults.
With advances in cochlear implant surgery, most patients receive a minimal-access incision, which is only about two inches long. The incision is located behind the ear, and in most cases, the hair behind the ear does not even need to be shaved. The exact incision size and location will depend on the device being implanted and the individual patient’s outcome.
Pain is usually minimal after full awakening and most patients only need Tylenol for comfort for the first 24 hours after the operation. This small incision requires a healing period of approximately one week. It is typically recommended that cochlear implant recipients refrain from overexertion through physical activity, such as manual labor of any kind and sports, for four to six weeks after surgery.
More: Cochlear Implant Frequently Asked Questions