Objective. To evaluate cochlear trauma after cochlear implant insertion through a middle fossa approach by means of histologic and imaging studies in temporal bones. Study Design. Prospective cadaveric study. Setting. University-based temporal bone laboratory. Subjects and Methods. Twenty fresh-frozen temporal bones were implanted through a middle cranial fossa basal turn cochleostomy. Ten received a straight electrode and 10 a perimodiolar electrode. Samples were fixed in epoxy resin.
Computed tomography (CT) scans determined direction, depth of insertion, and the cochleostomy to round window distance. The samples were polished by a microgrinding technique and microscopically visualized to evaluate intracochlear trauma. Descriptive and analytic statistics were performed to compare both groups.
The CT scan showed intracochlear insertions in every bone, 10 directed to the middle/apical turn and 10 to the basal turn. In the straight electrode group, the average number of inserted electrodes was 12.3 vs 15.1 for the perimodiolar group (U = 78, P = .0001). The median insertion depth was larger for the perimodiolar group (14.4 mm vs 12.5 mm, U = 66, P = .021). Only 1 nontraumatic insertion was achieved and 14 samples (70%) had important trauma (Eshraghi grades 3 and 4). No differences were identified comparing position or trauma grades for the 2 electrode
models or when comparing trauma depending on the direction of insertion.
The surgical technique allows a proper intracochlear insertion, but it does not guarantee a correct scala tympani position and carries the risk of important trauma to cochlear microstructures.