To summarize available peer-reviewed literature to describe the range and rate of complications related to osseointegrated hearing aids in adult and pediatric patients.
We searched PubMed using the terms bone-anchored hearing aid for articles published in English between 2000 and 2011. We included all articles reporting complications rates, except those that were case reports, general review (not systematic review), or commentary, as well as those that did not include patient outcomes, that reported outcomes associated with nonstandard implantation (e.g., 8.5-mm abutment) or were of poor study or reporting quality.
After excluding articles that did not meet criteria, 20 articles were identified, comprising 2,134 patients who underwent a total of 2,310 osseoimplants. Complications reported in the literature were typically minor in nature. Skin reactions from Holgers Grade 2 to 4 ranged from 2.4% to 38.1%. Failure of osseointegration ranged from 0% to 18% in adult and mixed populations, and 0% to 14.3% in pediatric populations. The rate of revision surgery ranges from 1.7% to 34.5% in adult and mixed populations and 0.0% to 44.4% in pediatric patients, whereas the total rate of implant loss ranged from 1.6% to 17.4% in adult and mixed populations and from 0.0% to 25% in pediatric patients.
Overall, the quality of large scale and/or prospective studies reporting the incidence of complications after osseointegrated hearing aid surgery is poor and lacks uniformity. However, based on available data, which shows a lack of major complications, osseointegrated implantation is a safe procedure in both adult and pediatric populations. Well-designed, prospective studies with uniform reporting standards would allow greater comparison between techniques and more reliable analysis of complications of osseointegration surgery of the temporal bone for cochlear stimulation.