In the 6 decades since French and American surgeons implanted the first cochlear hearing devices, the procedure in children has become reliable, safe, and relatively free of severe complications, according to research presented during the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF)  annual meeting & OTO EXPO, in Chicago.

The study, titled Complications in Pediatric Cochlear Implants, was authored by Anita Jeyakumar, MD, MS (presenter); and Randall A. Clary, MD.

Conducted by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, it determined that out of 155 cases of pediatric implantation between 2001 and 2006, the rate of the most common complications in patients was below 3%, with only 25 total complications observed during that period. The most common complication was related to local surgical wounds in the ear flap. Furthermore, the rate of device failure, which was cited as the most common complication in previous studies, was very low in the study.

The researchers stress that it is critical that patients undergo a lifetime of continuous follow-up.

Cochlear implants were introduced by French researchers in the 1950s, with the first American implantation taking place in 1961 in Los Angeles. Since then, an estimated 120,000 patients worldwide have undergone implantation, including over 10,000 children in the United States alone.

[Source: Science Daily]