Twenty-two temporal bones and one brain stem from 13 cochlear implant patients were examined histologically. Sixteen temporal bones had undergone one or more implant procedure. Results of analysis suggested that the ganglion cells were the responding elements to the implant and that useful auditory sensation could result from as few as 10 percent of the normal number of ganglion cells. All implanted bones exhibited varying amounts of fibrosis (some ossified) in the basal turn of the cochlea and beyond in some cases. Usually there was damage to the surviving elements of the organ of Corti and the dendrites throughout the extent of the electrode insertion. However, the ganglion cell population was not affected. Prolonged electrical stimulation (up to 14 years) did not affect ganglion eel I survival in three cases, and had no effect on the cochlear nerves in two cases or on cochlear nuclei in one case.
© 1991, The American Journal of Otology, Inc.