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Auditory Brainstem Implants in NF2 are Safe and Effective, Could Benefit Broader Population

By April 22, 2010December 18th, 2023Awareness, Science & Research

Since its introduction, the use of the auditory brainstem implant (ABI) for hearing restoration in NF2 has grown in popularity.  Over the last 10 years, ABI use has also been extended to adults and children without tumor conditions but with those with cochlear or cochlear nerve malfunctions but did not benefit from a cochlear implant. However currently, ABI transplants can only be done by a very limited number of medical centers, which restrict access to ABIs for many individuals who could benefit, including those with NF2.   ABIs have been shown to be effective in individual cases, but can their use be expanded to more medical centers to benefit more patients? A new report* does a retrospective analysis of 114 individual ABI surgeries (83 adults and 31 children) performed between 1997 and 2008. 36 cases were persons with NF2, and 78 persons had non-tumor related cochlear and cochlear nerve disorders.

Overall ABI surgery has had a very low rate of major complications, particularly in non-NF2 patients. Minor complications were easily controlled and resolved in all cases.  The complication rates in the non-tumor cases were comparable to those of cochlear implant surgery in both adults and children. Overall this analysis is favorable of ABI use, a safe procedure when performed by an experienced surgical and rehabilitation team. Looking ahead it is hoped the benefits of the ABI can be extended to a larger population of hearing-impaired patients.

* Colletti V, Shannon RV, Carner M, Veronese S, Colletti L. (2010) Complications in Auditory Brainstem Implant Surgery in Adults and Children. Otol Neurotol. 2010 Apr 14. [Epub ahead of print]