In addition to the fact that SYNCHRONY is approved for MRI scans up to 3.0T without magnet removal, what other benefits does it offer?
Darla Franz: The SYNCHRONY implant offers benefits for all cochlear implant users. The approval for MRI scans up to 3.0 Tesla without magnet removal is an added feature for an implant that is already state-of-the-art.
The SYNCHRONY implant has what was call the i100 electronics platform, which has the ability to perform different kinds of coding, including the ability to fire more than one electrode at the same time.
We’ve recently introduced some new coding strategies that depend on that platform, such as FS4p. FS4p uses parallel stimulation, meaning stimulation of more than one channel at the same time, and is also back compatible to previous MED-EL implants with that platform. This is just one example of future-ready technology in the electronics platform. The internal electronics are built to have a number of capabilities that we can release over time as the externals or coding evolve – the goal being that the implant remains cutting edge for as long as possible – and the end-user will be able to access the latest technology without the need for a new implant.
SYNCHRONY is also the smallest and lightest implant available today. This can be particularly important when implanting babies and young children.
MED-EL is also the only company that different soft, flexible electrode configurations that are sized to fit different cochleas. We can tell the size of the cochlea from pre-op imaging, and there is a calculation the surgeon can do to choose an electrode array that is sized to fit that individual cochlea. There are two primary lengths that we use, but there are more available for special cases such as a Mondini malformation. We can also provide the surgeon with a variety of implants with different electrode lengths. That way, the surgeon can choose the length that is best for the individual patient during the surgery.