Team:  M. Sc. Samuel Müller
Year:  2014
Date:  09-02-14
Funding:  BMBF
Is Finished:  yes

Starting point of the new surgical procedure are individually obtained medical image data. This data provides the system with a personal three-dimensional computer model of the respective patient's head, which results of automated image processing methods ( segmentation ). Based on this model an optimum way through the overlaying bone to the inner ear can be calculated. This lies deep inside the head behind major nerves, such as the facial nerve and gustative nerve which may not be damaged when drilling in the bone. So far, this is only guaranteed by the long experience and great skill of the surgeon.
In future it is planed to ensure this by a custom-made template with high precision, the "Robo:JiG". For a technically highest possible accuracy the jig will be fixed directly to the patient's head. The direction to the inner ear is so clearly defined , so that the surgeon is able to create a small , about 2mm in diameter bore to the inner ear with high accuracy. The previously required large-volume and high-risk reaming of the entire bone behind the ear is completely eliminated by this minimally invasive approach . After drilling, the drill hole shall be flushed and cleaned by a special micro-endoscopy system . A last thin bone lamella before the inner ear will be removed by using a laser to avoid damage to fragile structures which are important to the hearing process. Furthermore, the implant will be inserted into the cochlea in an "atraumatic" way by means of automatic Insertionstools. This tool bests the surgeon's skill in terms of accuracy. A coordinated new design of the cochlear implant completes the holistic , minimally invasive cochlear implantation. Patients, hospitals and payers in the healthcare system benefit from the new method greatly, when it comes to reduced surgical risks, higher accuracy and safety , shorter operative time and hospital stay (up to outpatient care) , reduced wound healing times and all the resulting savings in cost CI supply.