Five year old undergoes cochlear implant surgery

In a first, Fortis Anandpur, Kolkata successfully treated a five and a half year kid who was suffering from severe hearing loss along with mild left facial paralysis by conducting a  successful surgery and implanting the newly launched implant processor.


In February 2021, an American couple had adopted the little boy who was born in Chhattisgarh. Right from his birth, the child suffered from poor hearing and grade two facial palsy on the left side of his face. The kid underwent thorough investigation to diagnose the cause of his condition. Investigative reports suggested that the only cure to restore his hearing was a cochlear implant.


Cochlear implant is a mechanical device, which is surgically implanted deep into the inner ear to stimulate the hearing nerve in patients, who have zero hearing capacity and in cases where even the strongest of hearing device fail to aid hearing.


Though a relatively common surgery, doctors must perform it at an early stage of life for maximum benefit. If the child is kept away from sound stimulation for a long time, the brain loses its capacity to recognize the sound and convert it into meaningful words, known as ‘brain plasticity’.


“We knew our only option, in this case, was a cochlear implant processor. Thus, without any further delay we fixed the date of surgery post clearance from the pediatric doctors and the anesthesia team. However, the scans indicated narrowing inside the cochlea, making the case more complicated. The kid’s parents wanted to opt for the cochlear implant processor, which was launched aborad a few days back and was unavailable in India. However, the team at Fortis pulled through, and received the device for the kid, making him the first in India to receive the processor and be successfully operated.” said Dr Manojendra Narayan Bhattacharyya, Senior Consultant ENT Head & Neck Surgeon.


The surgery took place on 8th August, a day after the patient’s admission. The surgery was led by an expert team of doctors led by Dr. Manojendra Narayan Bhattacharyya.


“While operating the kid, we found that there was an anatomical alteration inside the bone. We drilled through it to reach the cochlea. Due to the narrowing, it was extremely challenging to introduce the electrodes through it. The surgery was pretty challenging, but the expert team of doctors performed it successfully. The team was meticulous and cautious with the surgery. I must applaud the anesthetic team; they were truly commendable,” added Dr Bhattacharyya


There are a few challenges related to performing the cochlear implant surgery. The surgeons need to make sure the facial nerve is secured; injury to the facial nerve leads to paralysis. In this case, the doctors spent nearly 10 hours in the operation theatre for successful completion of the surgery done in both the ears.


“The next day, when I went for my rounds, I found the child joyful. He was eating and drinking well. With audiological therapy, I’m sure the child will be able to hear and speak with encouraging outcomes,” said Dr Manojendra Narayan Bhattacharyya. The child has recovered without any side effects and was discharged a day after the surgery.



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