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Percutaneous Cochlear Implant Study (11 minutes)

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Martha Morales lost most of her hearing when she was just eleven years old and by the time she was seventeen, she was deaf. Martha came to Dr. Robert Labadie at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. On this video you will see Dr. Labadie install an electronic device, called a cochlear implant, deep in Martha’s inner ear. It will help her hear for the first time in years.

Installing a cochlear implant is major surgery. It can take two to three hours, requiring on O.R. and a full surgical team. Dr. Labadie realized there had to be a better way-image guided surgery-much like a GPS system in your car. The doctor uses a three-dimensional picture, created from a CT scan, to explain how this image can help a surgeon guide a tiny drill into the inner ear. The doctor calls it a Percutaneous Cochlear Implant, meaning “through the skin.” Dr. Labadie was convinced that this could be done in 30 to 40 minutes, maybe even in an out-patient setting.

That is where Martha Morales came in. She volunteered to be a part of the study, putting Dr. Labadie’s surgical theory to the test. It was paid for by a grant from the National Institute of Health. 

Watch the video to see this exciting procedure.

“The science could not go forward without people participating in the study and we are eternally grateful to them. Contributing to this study and being a part of it helps others. That other person might be somebody in your family. It might be one of your children. It might be a neighbor. It might be somebody you don’t know but that’s how all of medicine moves ahead. We’re very thankful to people for considering this.”

                                                                                                                                                                           … Dr. Robert F. Labadie


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The Otology Group at Vanderbilt

The Otology Group was founded in 1974 by Michael E. Glasscock III, M.D. C. Gary Jackson, M.D. joined the group in 1978. In the 30-year history of The Otology Group it became one of the world’s acknowledged centers of excellence for treatment of ear disorders. Dr. Glasscock retired in 1998 and Dr. Jackson in 2008. The tradition continues with the merger with Vanderbilt in 2004, with Dr. David Haynes as Division Chief.