Cochlear implant surgery

There are many different rumors and false believes about cochlear implant surgery. Unlike what some may think, this surgery is actually fairly minor—there is no large hole cut in your scalp or large device implanted in your head. In fact, the entire operation often only takes a few hours, and there are very few complications or risks associated with it. Children, in fact, are often able to go home right after the surgery and are back to behaving normally in just a few hours. Adults sometimes take a bit longer because they don’t heal quite as fast, but generally, no more than a day or two is needed to completely recover.

A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that is implanted under the skin near the ear. This implant can provide sound to those who are deaf or have severe difficulty hearing. The implant contains a microphone to pick up sound, a speech processor that processes the sounds, a transmitter that changes the processed sounds into electric impulses, and a set of electrodes that send these impulses to the brain. The implant doesn’t restore normal hearing, however. Instead, it gives those who have difficulty hearing the ability to gain a sense of sound and to understand speech. While it isn’t the same, it may restore the ability to speak on the phone or communicate more fully with others. Note that not everyone who is deaf or hard of hearing can qualify for a cochlear implant. Your doctor can tell you if you are a good candidate for cochlear implant surgery.

Cochlear implant surgery does present the standard risks that all surgeries present, but these risks are very low, and there are rarely complications. One of the biggest risks is contracting meningitis, but patients can take steps to reduce their risk of this by being vaccinated. Your doctor can explain all the risks of meningitis and how you can help prevent it.

Before you go in for cochlear implant surgery, make certain you and your doctor have discussed any and all concerns you may have. Ask every question that comes to mind, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. It’s important that you are comfortable with the surgeon doing the operation and that you understand everything involved before you go to the hospital. You don’t want to have any last minute doubts about your decision to have this surgery.

Once you arrive at the hospital, you will be placed under a general anesthesia for the operation. A little bit of your hair will be shaved off around the area where the implant will be placed. This is mainly any hair that is right behind your ear, and on most people, it isn’t even immediately noticeable. This is especially true if you have longer hair since it will hang down over the shaved area. For most people, the ear itself covers much of the shaved area.

The surgery itself involves making a small cut behind the ear and lifting the skin and tissue up. The surgeon then drills into the skull bone and places the receiver in this area. The electrode array is then placed inside the cochlea, a part of the ear. Then the surgeon closes up the insertion with stitches and bandages your head. In most cases, there is only a very faint scar left at the site of the incision.

Following surgery, you may be able to go home right away or, depending on several factors such as your overall health, you may need to stay at the hospital for a few hours or even overnight. However, there are only a few side effects from cochlear implant surgery. They include a slight swelling at the incision site, mild pain, dizziness, and a change in taste.

Last updated on Feb 1st, 2010 and filed under Medical Treatment. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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