Cochlear Implantation in Chronic Otitis Media With Cholesteatoma and Open Cavities: Long-term Surgical Outcomes

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To evaluate the long-term surgical outcomes of cochlear implantation (CI) in chronic otitis media (COM) with cholesteatoma and open cavities using subtotal petrosectomy (STP). To review device explantation (DE) patients and reimplantation considerations.

Study Design:

Retrospective review.


Otology and skull base center.

Patients and Methods:

Charts of 35 patients (36 ears) with COM with cholesteatoma, including open cavities, who underwent CI were reviewed for surgical outcomes and DE. Patient demographics, pathologies, previous surgeries, staging of implantation, salient intraoperative findings at the time of implantation and follow-up were evaluated. Details of patients with DE were evaluated for cause, operative findings, and reimplantation considerations.


Mean age of patients was 65.94 years. Nineteen open cavities, 11 primary cholesteatomas, 3 petrous bone cholesteatomas, and 3 atelectatic middle ears represented the pathologies with 31 patients of CI with concurrent STP and 5 patients where implantation was staged. The mean follow-up was 7.16 years ranging from 2 to 13 years. Four patients (11%) had DE due to extrusion and cavity infection with three reimplanted in same or contralateral ear. All explantations occurred within 24 months of primary implantation. No residual or recurrent cholesteatoma was observed in any of the patients during follow-up.


CI is feasible in COM with cholesteatoma and open cavities with the use of STP and single-stage implantation can be performed in the absence of purulence. Despite low risk of residual cholesteatoma post meticulous disease removal, risk of DE remains, particularly in open cavity patients, and is higher than standard implantation. Reimplantation is often possible with careful considerations.

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