The conventional technique for cochlear implantation is via a mastoidectomy and posterior tympanotomy. An alternative approach for cochlear implantation is hereto described.
The middle ear is entered through a suprameatal approach (SMA) bypassing the mastoid cavity. This surgical approach shortens the duration of the procedure to approximately one hour. The introduction of the cochlear implant electrode array involves drilling in the suprameatal region and the osseous portion of the external auditory canal at a safe distance from the anatomical position of the facial nerve. This prevents possible injury by direct trauma or drill overheating of the chorda tympani or facial nerves.
We report 15 consecutive patients who were operated on using the SMA technique. No complications were encountered as a result of this surgical technique but further experience may be necessary.