Four key questions about osseointegrated implant surgery

Dr. José Ignacio Undabeitia Santisteban is an otolaryngologist and belongs to Top Doctors. As an expert in osseointegrated hearing implants, he will explain the details of this surgery.

What are bone anchored implants?

They are hearing aids that are anchored to the bone, that is why they are called osseointegrated. They have two parts: a physically anchored part, integrated in the bone of the head behind and above the ear. And a second external part, which is the processor that conducts the sound to the head bone and transmits it directly to the inner ear. That is an osseointegrated implant, it is better known by its acronym BAHA, which means: bone anchored hearing aid.

Which people can wear this implant?

This implant has a very clear first indication, which are those patients whose natural way of sound transmission: ear, auditory canal, eardrum… do not work well, but whose inner ear is preserved or acceptable. These are patients most of them with middle-chronic otitis, operated or not, often operated several times. Also those patients with otosclerosis, operated or not, or who have problems to be operated. And also all those patients who, due to congenital problems, due to birth problems, have altered the anatomy of their ear, of their middle ear, or of the external auditory canal. This is the clearest and first indication of the implant. Patients with the natural way of sound transmission affected, with an acceptable, with a good inner ear.

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Do they recover one hundred percent of hearing?

If we choose the right candidate, if we choose the right candidate, we will have a very high degree of satisfaction. As long as the candidate, as I say, the patient with problems of this type, of his natural hearing pathway, has an acceptable or good inner ear, the degree of satisfaction is high. It is never one hundred percent with any type of device, but satisfaction is high and the patient makes very good use of this type of device.

What does their placement consist of?

Its placement has two parts: the first is a surgical part which is very light, very simple, it is done under local anesthesia and sedation, which consists of placing the osseointegrated implant in the bone, behind the ear and above it. This implant is osseointegrated after four to six weeks and the external prosthesis can be placed on it, which would be the second phase. Simple surgery with local anesthesia to place the implant in the bone behind and above the ear, sedation and local anesthesia. And after four to six weeks comes the second phase which is to place the processor on the implant and that is when the patient begins to hear, begins to enjoy the device which, as I say, if the patient is well chosen, will give us complete satisfaction.