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Cutting-edge cochlear implant surgery introduced to the US by a Swedish neurotologist.

A Swedish Medical Center physician is breaking new ground in the area of cochlear implants by performing surgery on a 9-year-old girl who received the medical implant for single-sided deafness. The implant was performed by Daniel Zeitler, MD, a neurotologist and skull-based surgeon, who is one of only a few medical professionals in the US able to perform the procedure for this population and diagnosis. Dr. Zeitler said of the young patient, known only as Claire, that her defaness was beginning to take its toll on her both academically and socially.

"Although Claire is an excellent student, she had to sit strategically in the class room to be able to hear," Dr. Zeitler said. "She often felt socially isolated during basketball or active family outings. Basically, all the things that a 9-year-old girl likes to do were slowly taken away from her because of her deafness."

Young Claire received the cochlear implant on November 26. The MED-EL device will be activated on December 18; however, Dr. Zeitler said early testing during surgery indicated it was working properly. The use of cochlear implants for single-sided deafness, and for patients as young as Claire, is an emerging practice in Europe, but it is extremely rare in the US. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved the device for single-sided deafness. "There's a huge push to initiate trials for its use in these circumstances in the US, but only a few anecdotal reports and small objective studies exist.

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Publication:Transplant News
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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