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Preparing for Surgery & Post-Op Care | Overview

Once your child has been approved to receive a cochlear implant, you will be given a pre-operative appointment. The appointment typically takes place approximately two or three weeks before surgery, and it typically includes a consultation with the anesthesiologist and additional blood work.

Also, prior to surgery, your child will need to have updated immunizations, including one for meningitis. Our program coordinator will work with your family to ensure that your child has what is needed to proceed with surgery.

How can I help prepare my child for surgery?

A psychologist will meet with you and your child to help you find ways to feel comfortable and positive about the surgery. For a young child, playing with dolls, head bandages, and doctors’ masks, for example, will help prepare your child for the surgery. Play dates or emails with other children who already have cochlear implants will help provide familiar role models.

The cochlear implant team will give your child a backpack of age-appropriate items and games to take to the hospital. Your child will be encouraged to express questions and concerns. Brothers and sisters often have their own anxieties about the surgery, and their questions should be addressed so that they can feel positive and supportive about the implant.

What happens during surgery?

Cochlear implant surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes three to six hours. A child usually stays in the hospital one night after the surgery, and one parent or caregiver is encouraged to stay in the child's room during recovery.

During the surgery, an incision is made behind the ear exposing the area where the implant will be placed. The surgeon will place the receiver/stimulator in this small area under the skin. The electrode array is inserted into your child's inner ear, and the receiver/stimulator is fixed in place. Electrical recordings are made to show that the electrodes are providing stimulation. Then the area is reconstructed.

For an in-depth overview of the surgical procedure, please call our Cochlear Implant Program at 781-216-2250.