Cochlear Implantation Following Explorative Tympanotomy in Patients With Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Surgical Features and Audiological Outcomes.

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To investigate the anatomical status of the round window niche and hearing outcome of cochlear implantation (CI) after explorative tympanotomy (ExT) with sealing of the round window membrane in patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss at a tertiary referral medical center.Between January 1, 2007, and July 30, 2020, 1602 patients underwent CI at our department. Out of these, all patients previously treated by ExT with sealing of the round window membrane because of unilateral sudden hearing loss were included in the study. A retrospective chart review was conducted concerning method of round window membrane sealing, intraoperative findings during CI, postoperative imaging, and hearing results.Twenty one patients (9 females; 8 right ears; 54.3 years [± 12.9 years]) underwent ExT with sealing of the round window membrane with subsequent CI after 26.6 months (± 32.9 mo) on average. During CI, in 76% of cases (n = 16), the round window niche was blocked by connective tissue due to the previous intervention but could be removed completely in all cases. The connective tissue itself and its removal had no detrimental effects on the round window membrane. Postoperative computed tomography scan showed no electrode dislocation. Mean postoperative word recognition score after 3 months was 57.4% (± 17.2%) and improved significantly to 73.1% (± 16.4%, P = .005) after 2 years.Performing CI after preceding ExT, connective tissue has to be expected blocking the round window niche. Remaining tissue can be removed safely and does not alter the round window membrane allowing for a proper electrode insertion. Short- and long-term hearing results are satisfactory. Consequently, ExT with sealing of the round window membrane in patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss does not impede subsequent CI that can still be performed safely.

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Authors: Robin Rupp, Joachim Hornung, Matthias Balk, Matti Sievert, Sarina Müller, Ulrich Hoppe, Heinrich Iro, Antoniu-Oreste Gostian