Cochlear Implants

What you should know

A cochlear implant (CI) is an electronic device that helps improve hearing in people with severe hearing loss. A CI has an external and internal part. CI surgery is done to place the internal part of the CI in your ear.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

You may feel dizzy or have nausea after your surgery. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. The outer layer of your brain may be injured during surgery, and cerebrospinal fluid may leak. This can cause a severe headache, neck stiffness, and leakage of clear fluid from your nose or ears. Parts of your ear or facial nerves may be damaged during the surgery. This can cause numbness and loss of movement to parts of your face. CI surgery increases the risk of meningitis. This is an infection of your brain and spinal cord. You will be at a higher risk for meningitis your entire life. Your CI may not be in the right place, or it could stop working. You may need another surgery to fix it.

Getting Ready

The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.

  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • You may need a CT or MRI scan. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The night before your surgery:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.

  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

Treatment

What will happen:

Your surgeon will make an incision behind your ear along your hairline. He will open the mastoid bone to reach your inner ear. He will go through the opening in the mastoid bone to get to the cochlea. Your surgeon will make a hole in the cochlea and implant the electrodes. Your surgeon will place the receiver against the mastoid bone. Your incision will be closed with stitches.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room where you can rest until you are awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not try to get out of bed until your caregiver sees that you are okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room. You will have a bandage behind your ear to keep the wound clean and dry. Your caregiver will remove the bandage and check your wound the day after your surgery.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your surgery.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have a cold or the flu.

  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Cochlear Implants (Precare)

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