The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Main Articles

Post-operative problems and complications in 313 consecutive cochlear implantations

T Ovesena1 and L V Johansena1 c1

a1 Department of Oto-rhino-laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark


Objective: To describe problems and complications associated with cochlear implantation, and their management, in a Danish patient population comprising both paediatric and adult patients.

Design: Retrospective chart review.

Setting: Tertiary referral centre.

Subjects: Three hundred and thirteen consecutive cochlear implantations were studied. The median age of the study population was 10 years. Sixty per cent of patients were children and 40 per cent were adult; 52 per cent were female and 48 per cent were male.

Intervention: Two hundred and ninety-four patients received a Cochlear Nucleus® implant. The remaining 19 received an Advanced Bionics implant.

Main outcome measure: Presence of problems and complications after cochlear implantation.

Results: Post-operative complications were found in 15.7 per cent of patients. The majority of these complications (11.2 per cent) were minor; 4.5 per cent were major. The major complications included one patient with meningitis, one patient with multiple antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection of a radical cavity, and one diabetic patient who developed a severe skin infection and whose implant became exposed.

Conclusion: Cochlear implantation is a safe procedure within the studied setting. However, it is essential that careful attention be paid to surgical planning and technique, and it is important that healthcare staff and patients be aware of the possible problems and complications.

(Accepted July 14 2008)

(Online publication October 10 2008)


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Lars Vendelbo Johansen, Department of Oto-rhino-laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. Fax: +45 8949 3180 E-mail:


Dr L V Johansen takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper.

Competing interests: None declared