Objectives: The ideal outcome of cochlear implant surgery involves the insertion of the array inside the scala tympani of the cochlea with the least mechanical trauma. Recently, round window insertion and the direction in which the cochlea is approached have gained attention in this respect. The Angles of Cochlear Approach (ACA) can be defined with a plane in the plane of the basal turn, termed the in-plane angle, and the plane orthogonal to this plane, termed the out-plane angle. The aim of this study was to compare the trajectory angles for different surgical techniques of Veria, suprameatal, pericanal, and multiple posterior tympanotomy (PT) approaches, including an optimal trajectory that is simulated for robotic surgery.
Materials and methods: The trajectories of these surgical techniques were simulated on the same high-resolution computed tomography scan. The simulated trajectory angles were analyzed with dedicated software for medical images, defining the ACA and distances to critical otological structures.
Results: The ACA are the smallest for surgical techniques that pass thought the PT. However, performing a surgical PT can include variability in the ACA, ranging from almost 0° to 20.8° in an out-plane angle, depending on how close a surgeon would approach the facial nerve. The Veria, Suprameatal approach (SMA), and peri-canal approaches have larger ACA and minimal distances to the ossicular chain and the ear canal. The maximum distance to the facial nerve and the widest out-plane angle is observe with a pericanal approach. The optimal PT approach refers to the trajectory without collisions and with the best possible ACA that can be planned.
Conclusion: Different surgical approaches yield important differences in the ACA. PT allows better ACA with maximum distances to the critical structures. However, the optimal PT trajectory simulated for robotic keyhole surgery is a further improvement on the trajectories through the facial recess.