Impact of anatomical variations on insertion forces : an investigation using artificial cochlear models
The choice of a cochlear implant electrode carrier for the individual patient is influenced by cochlear size, as this parameter has an impact on the risk of scala dislocations. Therefore, size and morphology should be represented in artificial cochlear models too, since these are generally used for insertion studies evaluating newly developed cochlear implant electrode carriers and insertion techniques, before human temporal bone studies are applied for. Within this study custom-made electrode carrier test samples were inserted into nine artificial cochlear models of different shape. To fabricate them, four human temporal bone samples have been processed by a serial cross-sectioning technique; the other four samples have been scanned with micro computed tomography. The cochlea was segmented on this data using rotating, midmodiolar slice planes, followed by the generation of a three-dimensional digital model, which finally was projected on a plane and 2D models were milled out of PTFE. The ratios of length to width of the cochlear basal turn of our samples were found to be within previously reported range. For comparative reasons a model used in previous studies was included in this study too. The maximal insertion forces per cochlear model followed a normal distribution. The insertion depth at initial insertion force increase is correlated to the length of cochlear basal turn. Using the here presented cochlear models with varying anatomical measures may help to increase the clinical relevance of insertion studies in artificial cochlear models.