Objective: A small number of multichannel cochlear implant (CI) recipients require reimplantation. This study describes the causes of failure, surgical technique, and hearing outcomes in a consecutive series of 16 patients undergoing reimplantation of multichannel devices. We hypothesize that reimplantation is safe and that hearing results are at least as good as those measured following primary implantation. Study Design: Retrospective analysis of consecutive clinical series. Methods: Chart analysis of 191 consecutive CI operations performed at the University of Miami Ear Institute between 1990 and 1997 revealed 16 patients who received a second multichannel device. All but one had a minimum follow-up of 1 year after reimplantation. Ten of these patients had initial implantation performed by us, and six were initially operated on elsewhere. Main outcomes of the initial procedure were compared with those of the reimplantation, including electrode insertion length, number of channels programmed, and audiometric results. In addition, cause of failure and relevant surgical findings at the second procedure are described. Results: There were no surgical complications after reimplantation surgery. Device failure was the most frequent cause for reimplantation. Time between initial implantation and failure ranged from 0 to 46 months (mean, 22.4 mo; median, 23 mo). Common intraoperative findings include mastoid fibrosis, bone growth at the cochleostomy, and skin flap breakdown. Following reimplantation, mean length of insertion, number of channels actively programmed, and speech recognition scores were at least as good as findings before initial implant failure. Conclusion: CI reimplantation is safe and effective.
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