What is an Auditory Brainstem Implant ?
An auditory brainstem implant (ABI) provides a sensation of hearing to deaf people by directly stimulating the cochlear nucleus in the brain. This implant uses similar technology as the Cochlear Implant, but instead of electrical stimulation being used to stimulate the cochlea, it is used to directly stimulate the cochlear nucleus in the brain stem of the recipient. Because it bypasses the cochlear nerves, the device is most useful for people who have an absence or damage to the cochlea or cochlear nerves (which precludes the use of a cochlear implant).
How does an Auditory Brainstem Implant work ?
The device comprises a processor positioned by the ear, a receiver/stimulator and an array of electrodes. The electrode array of the auditory brainstem implant connects directly to the brainstem, bypassing the damaged cochlea and cochlear nerves. The microphone in the processor picks up sounds from the environment and digitally transmits them to the receiver stimulator placed under the skin. The receiver/stimulator stimulates the brainstem electrodes, allowing the patient to hear a variety of sounds.
Who can benefit from an auditory brainstem implant surgery ?
Any adult or child with bilateral (both ears) severe to profound sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss who might have been candidates for a cochlear implant in India but cannot receive a cochlear implant due to absence or damage to the cochlea or cochlear nerves would be a candidate for an auditory brainstem implant in India. Such situations may occur due to trauma, illness(such as meningitis), tumours of the hearing nerve(acoustic neuromas as in NF2) or may be a birth anomaly.
Before the auditory brainstem implant Surgery
All the factors that we consider prior to cochlear implantation are considered prior to an ABI as well. It is usually after the imaging that the problem with the cochlea or cochlear nerves is often detected, and the possibility of an ABI is then considered. In addition, the neurosurgeon also will assess the patient.
During the surgery
This operation is done along with an experienced neurosurgeon. Hospital stay is likely to be a week. auditory brainstem implant surgery in India may last for 6 to 8 hours and is performed while the patient is under general anaesthesia.
The electrode array is inserted into the brainstem. The receiver/stimulator is secured to the skull. Typically, patients remain in the ICU for a night before being shifted to their room. They have a bandage on their head which is removed after a week.
Switching on the AB implant
Activation of the implant takes place four to six weeks after implantation. Following this the implant is ‘programmed’ or ‘mapped’. Mapping is done on a regular basis during postoperative rehabilitation to fine-tune the processor and get the best performance as the patient gets used to hearing with the implant.
Post surgery – Rehabilitation
(Re)Habilitation is an essential part for those who have undergone auditory brainstem implant surgery in India and may be carried out at the hospital or at a centre close to the patients home. All patients need Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT). The range of sound will not be to the level provided by cochlear implants, but it provides increased environmental sound awareness. Most patients are able to hear sounds and the degree of hearing usefulness can vary greatly. Some people get good word recognition, while others get more general sound cues. In combination with lipreading, the cues help improve communication with others. Our hope is that this can give patients a much improved quality of life.
Medicure Assist Package provides rehabilitation which is an essential part for those who have undergone Auditory Brainstem Implant Surgery in India. All patients need Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT). In Auditory Verbal Therapy, the emphasis is laid on making the child listen and speak normally, rather than on lip reading and visual cues. Learning to listen takes time and requires concerted efforts from the patient, the family and the person providing habilitation services. Thus the implant can offer a wide range of benefits, including hearing speech, environmental sounds and music.
Auditory Brainstem Implant Surgery Cost in India
All Inclusive comprehensive package including the implant cost is $21,000 USD
A. Hospital Stay: 2 days
B. Stay in India– 3-4 weeks
C. The package includes all pre-op investigations, consult with a Neurophysician, Psychologist and Post-op rehabilitation- Auditory Verbal Training (AVT) at no extra cost
Note: Cost Estimate for above include stay in a Private Room where a Companion can stay with the patient surgeon fee, medicines and consumables, nursing care, food and Airport Pick & Drop. More accurate treatment cost estimates can be provided if medical reports are emailed to us or after the patient is examined by doctors after arrival at hospital in India and medical tests are done after admission.
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