Although it would be preferable, it is not always geographically feasible to refer patients back to the original surgeon, however, noted Samuel Levine, MD, Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He said that there are instances when patients have moved far away from the institution where they received a cochlear implant, and it is possible for the next surgeon to manage complications.
Complications Rare-But Meningitis Can Be Lethal
Dr. Megerian said that the lion’s share of cochlear implants are performed by a handful of about 100 otolaryngologists in the United States. In his experience, complications are extremely rare. Dr. Gianoli said that although he performs only a few of these procedures each year, he has not seen any serious complications.
Meningitis, although rare, is an important exception. Although meningitis has been shown to occur in fewer than one of every 1000 patients who receive the implant, it can be life-threatening. Meningitis related to the implant can occur anywhere from one day to many years after surgery, Dr. Megerian said.