The formation of new bone and fibrous tissue in the human inner ear following cochlear implantation was evaluated by computer-assisted 3-D reconstruction. Seven temporal bones from patients who in life had undergone cochlear implantation were prepared for histological study with the implant in situ. The specimens were sectioned in the axial plane at a thickness of 20 µm. At least every tenth section was digitally reconstructed in three dimensions and volumes of new bone and fibrous tissue were calculated per millimeter length of the cochlea. New bone and fibrous tissue were found in all seven specimens, particularly at the cochleostomy site. In addition, new bone and fibrous tissue had extended to variable lengths along the track of the cochlear implant and in some cases extended beyond the distal end of the implanted electrode. This methodology provides a quantitative tool for evaluation of new bone and fibrous tissue in the inner ear following implantation. This should assist in correlating psychophysical and speech perception tests with intracochlear pathology, evaluating both electrode design and the techniques of preserving residual auditory function.

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