The Cochlea Hydro Drive
Introduction Automated insertion of electrode arrays (EA) during cochlear implant (CI) surgery could provide the benefit to minimize intracochlear trauma and consequently optimize hearing outcomes in CI recipients. While automated insertion is a well-established method in laboratories, no tool is yet surgically available. The main reason for that substantial deficiency is the design of the current tools and test benches with their electronical components is too complex to meet sterile conditions required in the operating room. Herein we present a potential solution by means of a designed device referred to as Cochlea Hydro Drive.
Methods Design of the Cochlea Hydro Drive (CHD): The key feature is its simplicity and theoretical low cost, as it takes advantage of already existing medical supplies. The automation component is provided by hydraulic actuation using a sterile, disposable, commercially available syringe. The plunger of the syringe serves as a piston converting the pressure inside the barrel into a continuous and steady movement. The CHD is then run by an infusion pump. Using a few more sterile adaptors, the EA can be connected to the syringe plunger allowing its assembly directly in the operating room. The prototype is designed to be connected to a standard surgical retractor with a flexible arm for positioning of the CHD.
Results A first prototype was built and tested using human cadaveric head specimens. Assembly of the prototype by a surgeon with no engineering background was feasible and reproducible. It was possible to position the CHD in the desired angles to reach the cochlea using the flexible arm of the retractor.
Conclusion The CHD is a simple tool that could provide automated EA insertions under sterile conditions.
DFG, Cluster of Excellence EXC 2177/1
10 June 2020 (online)
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Stuttgart · New York