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Normally, active chronic suppurative otitis media is regarded as a contraindication for cochlear implantation. In case of a radical cavity after surgical treatment for cholesteatoma, the electrode covered by the epithelial lining of the mastoid will likely become exposed or extruded. Under these circumstances we suggest the subtotal petrosectomy, obliteration of the middle ear cleft with abdominal fat, and the blindsac closure of the external ear canal before cochlear implantation.
Fourteen patients with chronic otitis media were successfully implanted with an intracochlear multichannel cochlear implant. After an average follow-up of 28 months a temporary facial palsy in one patient and an insufficient closure of a retroauricular fistula over the mastoid cavity in two cases were observed as postoperative complications. One patient with a tumefactive inflammatory pseudotumor developed a massive inflammation in the implanted ear 2 months after surgery which could not be controlled by conservative treatment. The implant had to be removed and after administration of cyclophosphamide she could be successfully reimplanted 7 months later.
Implantation of a foreign body in a potentially infected space which communicates with the endocranium means a surgical challenge which can be managed by obliteration of the middle ear. In case of massive inflammation we prefer a two-stage procedure.