Friday, August 15, 2008


On Tuesday we returned to Dr. Syms for our CT scan results. Everything seemed to check out normal and Courtney is definitely a candidate for cochlear implants. We discussed the risks and benefits and once again came across the gut wrenching decision as to do one or two.

For parents of those who didn't have the option to do simultaneous bilateral CIs and could do it again would you do one or both? For those parents who are waiting until 12 months to do a CI, what would you do? And for those individuals who have gone from one to two, do you recommend it?

Any feedback would be great!


Amy said...

It really depends on your circumstances! If you are implanting a vestibularly challenged kid (can't sit up) or are implanting early, then having both sides done at once will be more painful and difficult afterwards. This may also depend on your surgeon and his technique, because some incisions are larger than others. We did simultaneous, and to be honest, if our son had no vestibular issues it would have been easier to do them both at once, and cheaper for the cost of hospitalization, etc. But, if you do them simultaneously things will also go well and there is no indication in the research that (if they are done fairly quickly on both sides) that simultaneous is any better than sequantial for getting P1 latencies up to speed.

The most important finding has been age at implantation for speed of language acquisition. So the crucial question is how early you can do it... and our surgeon would not do two at once at 6 months of age, due to the fact that he takes longer to do surgery and didn't want that long of time under anesthesia.

Hope that helps. It ends up being a very individual decision.

kkohler said...

Amy, so you did do simultaneous and you are glad that you did? We can't do it for insurance purposes until she is 12 months. She doesn't have any vestibular problems or syndromic issues either. It may be genetic, we don't know yet. I am so torn. Thank you for your input!

Brianna's Mommy said...

Brianna had bilateral CI surgery in April. I can say, without a doubt, the choice to do two at once was absolutely the right one for Brianna. Next to the decision to do the surgery or not do the surgery, the one or two implant decision was the hardest for me to make. There were so many "what if's" and so many unknowns. I can tell you, Brianna (age 7), bounced right back afterwards. Making the adjustment from 1 hearing aid to 2 CI's was seamless for Brianna. Her left side, which was the worse one before surgery, has now caught up to the right side. Her tests show that she can hear almost the same with each side.
It is a very personal, and extremely scary decision to make. I wouldn't change my decision to do both at once. I did get a lot of resistance from my family when I made that decision. But in the end, it was the right one for us. We are here for you if you have any questions!

tammy said...

We're so new into this too so it's hard to give any advice, but it seems from everything I've read, it's really what you feel will be the best for Courtney & your family. I keep questioning whether or not I'll give up future technology if I implant both of Aiden's ears, yet in our hearts, we just have that feeling bilateral implants are the right answer for Aiden. I would LOVE to get them both implanted in the same surgery, but that's still up in the air. Know as Courtney's parents you will make the right decision for her ... no matter what it is! Good luck and I can't wait to read more about her journey!

Drew's Mom said...

We had Drew implanted simultaneously and would do it all over again if we had to. Giving him up for the first surgery was hard, it would have been even harder to do a second time.

As for balance, many, many children with hearing loss have issues with their vestibular system. Drew was not sitting at the time of surgery (8 months old). He sat up for the first time the day after. I honestly think that the surgery helped his balance.

As for pain, etc. these kids are so amazing! Drew woke from surgery (5 hour surgery time), chugged 4 oz of pedilyte, went back to sleep for two hours. Nursed and then slept 12 hours. He woke the next morning like nothing had happened to him. The surgeons wrap the ears so tight with a cast-like material that they don't feel a thing. It truly is amazing.

My advice - the earlier you can get the implants, the better! Drew will be two in September and with only 14 months of hearing is age appropriate for his receptive and expressive language. I have no doubt that it is becuase he hears with two ears and was so young when implanted.