Cochlear implantation is a commonly performed medical procedure at UNC Healthcare as we operate on greater than 100 adult and pediatric patients, annually at our medical center and we currently care for over 800 patients between the adult and children's' program at UNC. August 2004 marked 20 years of cochlear implant experience at UNC.

In the case of cochlear implantation, a rather delicate and challenging procedure, it is important that you the patient consider the experience and knowledge of the medical staff and clinical associates when selecting your cochlear implant center.

The surgical steps to this procedure may include:

  • Pre-operative blood work and counseling with the medical staff
  • CT scan to review cochlear anatomy.
  • Surgery performed on an out-patient basis with the possibility of an overnight stay or 23-hour observation period, depending on individual health concerns.
  • 2-3 hour surgery under general anesthesia.
  • Placement of a surgical bandage over the implant site to remain secure for a healing period of 5-7 days post-operatively. At this time, hair washing should be avoided.
  • Return appointment to the UNC ENT clinic for removal of surgical bandages and scheduling of appointment for initial activation of the cochlear implant. It is important to note that the recipient will not be hearing through the implant upon completion of the surgical procedure. He/she will have to return to the clinic for this first stimulation of the external equipment to begin the hearing process. This appointment is scheduled approximately 2-3 weeks from the date of surgery.
  • Post-operatively, all patients will be provided antibiotic medications as well as pain relievers if needed.
  • Restrictions of heavy lifting, straining and strenuous exercise will be limited to the patient for approximately 1-month following implantation.

Below is a list of selected steps of the operative procedure of from the cochlear implant field. To view the videos, Apple Quick Time is required. This application is available for download at:

Please be aware that these are videos of actual surgery.