Collaboration propels advancements in personalized cochlear implant procedures

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the busiest cochlear implant center in the U.S., performing more than 300 implant surgeries each year.

A key driver is close collaboration among engineers, surgeons, audiologists, speech scientists and other experts. This interdisciplinary, trans-institutional work has enabled a truly customized approach for each patient. Research teams have developed image-guided surgery for placement of individual device electrodes and computational methods to optimize tuning the electrodes on a case-by-case basis.

The Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering, which is designed to facilitate interactions and exchanges between engineers and physicians, is the hub.  A significant VISE clinical application has been the development of minimally invasive, robotic-assisted cochlear implant surgery. Ongoing research supports greater degrees of personalized medicine, providing patients with more comfort and improved hearing outcomes.

Within VISE, engineering expertise includes modeling, robotics, imaging, image processing and analysis, devices, system integration, and instrumentation.  Other VISE clinical applications include image-guided brain, kidney, liver, pancreas, or prostate surgery; guidance for transorbital therapy; assistance for deep brain stimulators placement and programming; and ophthalmic microsurgery.