Development and evaluation of the modiolar research array - multi-centre collaborative study in human temporal bones

Robert J S Briggs, Michael Tykocinski, Roland Lazsig, Antje Aschendorff, Thomas Lenarz, Timo Stöver, Bernard Fraysse, Mathieu Marx, Jr Thomas Roland, Peter S. Roland, Charles G. Wright, Bruce J. Gantz, James F. Patrick, Frank Risi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Objective: Multi-centre collaborative study to develop and refine the design of a prototype thin perimodiolar cochlear implant electrode array and to assess feasibility for use in human subjects. Study Design: Multi-centre temporal bone insertion studies. Materials and Methods: The modiolar research array (MRA) is a thin pre-curved electrode that is held straight for initial insertion with an external sheath rather than an internal stylet. Between November 2006 and February 2009, six iterations of electrode design were studied in 21 separate insertion studies in which 140 electrode insertions were performed in 85 human temporal bones by 12 surgeons. These studies aimed at addressing four fundamental questions related to the electrode concept, being: (1) Could a sheath result in additional intra-cochlear trauma? (2) Could a sheath accommodate variations in cochlea size and anatomies? (3) Could a sheath be inserted via the round window? and (4) Could a sheath be safely removed once the electrode had been inserted? These questions were investigated within these studies using a number of evaluation techniques, including X-ray and microfluoroscopy, acrylic fixation and temporal bone histologic sectioning, temporal bone microdissection of cochlear structures with electrode visualization, rotational tomography, and insertion force analysis. Results: Frequent examples of electrode rotation and tip fold-over were demonstrated with the initial designs. This was typically caused by excessive curvature of the electrode tip, and also difficulty in handling of the electrode and sheath. The degree of tip curvature was progressively relaxed in subsequent versions with a corresponding reduction in the frequency of tip fold-over. Modifications to the sheath facilitated electrode insertion and sheath removal. Insertion studies with the final MRA design demonstrated minimal trauma, excellent perimodiolar placement, and very small electrode dimensions within scala tympani. Force measurements in temporal bones demonstrated negligible force on cochlear structures with angular insertion depths of between 390 and 450°. Conclusion: The MRA is a novel, very thin perimodiolar prototype electrode array that has been developed using a systematic collaborative approach. The different evaluation techniques employed by the investigators contributed to the early identification of issues and generation of solutions. Regarding the four fundamental questions related to the electrode concept, the studies demonstrated that (1) the sheath did not result in additional intra-cochlear trauma; (2) the sheath could accommodate variations in cochlea size and anatomies; (3) the sheath was more successfully inserted via a cochleostomy than via the round window; and (4) the sheath could be safely removed once the electrode had been inserted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-139
Number of pages11
JournalCochlear Implants International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Cochlear implant
  • Cochleostomy
  • Electrode
  • Hearing preservation
  • Perimodiolar
  • Round window
  • Temporal bone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing


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