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Title:
MINIMALLY-INVASIVE ACCESS INTO THE COCHLEA FOR ELECTRODE INSERTION AND FLUID DELIVERY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO2001082848
Kind Code:
A3
Abstract:
A threaded grommet (50), having an axial passageway (56) therethrough, and made from a biocompatible material, such as titanium, is screwed into a cochleostomy (40) made in the bony tissue (34) adjacent the round window (32) in order to provide a minimally-invasive access port into the cochlea (30). Threads (52) included on the outside of the grommet (50) engage the bony tissue (34) and form a tight seal that holds the grommet securely in position. Such tight seal prevents cochlear fluids from escaping from inside of the cochlea. The axial passageway (56) through the center of the grommet provides an opening, i.e., mechanical access, into the base end (the end of the cochlea nearest the round window) of the cochlea. Drugs, steroids, tissue-growth-inhibiting fluids, and the like, may be controllably delivered through the access hole into the cochlea, which access hole may be plugged when not needed. Additionally, an electrode array (10), e.g., a relatively short electrode array may be inserted into the cochlea through the access hole. A preferred electrode array (10) has from four to eight electrode contacts (14) spaced apart along a flexible carrier (12). The flexible carrier is about 6-8 mm in length. The electrode contacts may be connected, in conventional manner, to suitable implantable cochlear stimulator (ICS), or equivalent pulse generator. Neither the grommet nor the short electrode array interfere with the normal hearing processes within the cochlea. Hence, both electrical stimulation and normal hearing processes may occur simultaneously within the cochlea.

Inventors:
KUZMA JANUSZ A
BALKANY THOMAS J
LENARZ THOMAS H R
Application Number:
PCT/US2001/013687
Publication Date:
March 21, 2002
Filing Date:
April 27, 2001
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ADVANCED BIONICS CORP (US)
International Classes:
A61F11/04; (IPC1-7): A61F11/04; A61N1/36; H04R25/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO1996031087A11996-10-03
Foreign References:
US4892108A1990-01-09
FR2622790A11989-05-12
US4645504A1987-02-24
US4832051A1989-05-23
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