Complications of cochlear implant surgery in adults and children

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1991 Sep;100(9 Pt 1):708-11. doi: 10.1177/000348949110000903.


Surgery for cochlear prosthesis insertion exposes the patient to several potential risks. We review the surgical complication experience with cochlear implants in the United States. There have been no deaths attributable to these devices, few serious major complications, and relatively few minor complications. Major complications usually have to do with surgical technique and include flap necrosis, improper electrode placement, and rare facial nerve problems. Minor complications include dehiscence of incisions, infection, facial nerve stimulation, dizziness, and pedestal problems with the Ineraid device. Complications were less frequent in children than adults and were more likely to occur in the younger children than those above the age of 7 years. Complications were still fewer in groups of patients operated on within tightly controlled protocols. There was no increased incidence of otitis media in children who received the Nucleus Mini-22 device, and no reported sequelae from such otitis when it occurred.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cochlear Implants*
  • Equipment Failure
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Postoperative Complications*