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Cochlear implantation is mostly performed under general anaesthesia. This study aimed to evaluate cochlear implantation performed under local anaesthesia and sedation.
Twenty patients had a cochlear implant fitted under combined local anaesthesia (local anaesthesia group) and 41 patients had one fitted under general anaesthesia (general anaesthesia group) for bilateral profound hearing loss, from 2011 to 2014. Surgical duration, period of post-operative hospitalisation and early post-operative symptoms were compared. In the local anaesthesia group, operative symptoms reported during the surgery and by questionnaire were analysed.
Mean surgical duration was significantly shorter in the local anaesthesia group: 87 versus 122 minutes (p < 0.001). No significant difference was observed between the local anaesthesia and general anaesthesia groups regarding mean post-operative hospitalisation and early post-operative symptoms. Under local anaesthesia, patients had no particular symptoms in 60 per cent of cases. The remaining patients in this group experienced vertigo (10 per cent), pain (20 per cent) and pain-related movement (10 per cent) during the intervention. These symptoms can be controlled with symptomatic treatment.
Combined local anaesthesia for cochlear implantation is a good alternative to general anaesthesia for co-operating patients.
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