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14.12.2017 | Otology | Ausgabe 2/2018

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology 2/2018

The influence of cochlear morphology on the final electrode array position

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology > Ausgabe 2/2018
M. C. Ketterer, A. Aschendorff, S. Arndt, F. Hassepass, T. Wesarg, R. Laszig, R. Beck



Preoperative information about cochlear morphology and size increasingly seems to be a defining factor of electrode choice in cochlear implant surgery. Different types of electrodes differ in length and diameter to accommodate individual cochlear anatomy. Smaller cochlear size results in increased insertion depth with a higher risk to dislocate and causes cochlear trauma with reduced postoperative outcome. The objective of the current study is to describe the three-dimensional size of the cochlea, to compare interindividual differences, to determine the relationship between cochlear size and insertion angle, and to define risk factors for dislocation during insertion.


Four hundred and three patients implanted between 2003 and 2010 inserted via cochleostomy with a perimodiolar electrode array (Cochlear™ Contour Advance® electrode array) have been compared. CBCT (Cone beam computed tomography) was used to determine electrode array position (scala tympani versus scala vestibuli insertion, intracochlear dislocation, and insertion angle) and cochlear size (diameters and height). The trajectory of the electrode array and the lateral wall have been measured, and the position of the electrode array has been estimated.


The mean value of the largest diameter was 9.95 mm and that of the perpendicular distance was 6.54 mm. There was a statistically significant correlation between those values. Mean height was 3.85 mm. The intracochlear relation of the electrode array and the modiolus showed a statistically significant relationship with the cochlear expanse. The electrode array was more likely to dislocate in cochleae with a smaller diameter and a lower height. Cochleae with insertions into scala vestibuli exhibited a smaller height compared to scala tympani insertions with statistical significance.


Cochlear size and shape is variable, and the measured data of this study confirm the finding of other researchers. This study established two heights by two different planes to achieve a three-dimensional understanding of the cochlea. The electrode array was more likely to dislocate in cochleae with smaller diameter and smaller height. It can be assumed that the height established in this study seems to be a new preoperative parameter to underline the risk of scalar dislocation and not favored scala vestibuli insertion if using a cochleostomy approach. In conclusion, cochlear size, especially the height, is influencing the final position of the electrode array. Using preoperative scans of the cochlear diameters and cochlear height, a next step to custom-sized arrays is available.

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