The importance of electrode location in cochlear implantation

Brendan P. O'Connell, Jacob B. Hunter, George B. Wanna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Objectives: As indications for cochlear implantation have expanded to include patients with more residual hearing, increasing emphasis has been placed on minimally traumatic electrode insertion. Histopathologic evaluation remains the gold standard for evaluation of cochlear trauma, but advances in imaging techniques have allowed clinicians to determine scalar electrode location in vivo. This review will examine the relationship between scalar location of electrode arrays and audiologic outcomes. In addition, the impact that surgical approach, electrode design, and insertion depth have on scalar location will be evaluated. Data Sources: PubMed literature review. Review Methods: A review of the current literature was conducted to analyze the relationship between scalar location of cochlear implant electrode arrays and speech perception outcomes. Further, data were reviewed to determine the impact that surgical variables have on scalar electrode location. Results: Electrode insertions into the scala tympani are associated with superior speech perception and higher rates of hearing preservation. Lateral wall electrodes, and round window/extended round window approaches appear to maximize the likelihood of a scala tympani insertion. It does not appear that deeper insertions are associated with higher rates of scalar translocation. Conclusion: Superior audiologic outcomes are observed for electrode arrays inserted entirely within the scala tympani. The majority of clinical data demonstrate that lateral wall design and a round window approach increase the likelihood of a scala tympani insertion. Level of Evidence: N/A.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • cochlear implant
  • electrode design
  • electrode location
  • scala tympani
  • speech perception
  • surgical approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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