Conclusion: Polymer-coated electrodes can reduce surgically-induced trauma associated with the insertion of a cochlear implant (CI) electrode array. Objectives: To evaluate if insertion trauma in CI surgery can be reduced by using electrode arrays coated with 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC) polymer. Methods: We analyzed characteristics of the Contour Advance® electrode arrays coated with MPC polymer. To assess surgical trauma during electrode insertion, polymer-coated or uncoated (n = 5 each) animal electrode arrays were implanted in guinea pig cochleae and operability and electrophysiological and histological changes were assessed. Results: Under light and scanning electron microscopy, polymer-coated electrodes did not appear different from uncoated electrodes, and no change was observed after mechanical stressing of the arrays. Electrode insertion was significantly easier when polymer-coated electrodes were used. Auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds did not differ between groups, but p1-n1 amplitudes of the coated group were larger compared with the uncoated group at 32 kHz at 28 days after surgery. The survival of outer hair cells and spiral ganglion cells was significantly greater in the polymer-coated group.
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