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MED-EL - Implant Experience - August 2023

Why Might You Consider MED-EL's FLEXSOFT Array?

Kevin Vukovich, MS, CCC-A

August 6, 2018

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Question

Why might you consider MED-EL’s FLEXSOFT array for your cochlear implant candidates rather than a shorter array, a perimodiar array, or a mid-scala array?

Answer

Because no two cochleae are the same! With the newly FDA-approved FLEXSOFT, MED-EL has expanded its FLEX Electrode portfolio to 4 arrays.  The FLEX series are free-fitting lateral wall arrays that can freely adapt to the shape and curvature of each unique cochlea due to wave-shaped wires.  This versatility makes FLEX arrays an excellent option for almost any cochlear implant candidate.

A primary goal of cochlear implant surgery is to protect the delicate anatomical structures within the cochlea while providing best benefit through atraumatic electrode insertion. The FLEX-Tip technology utilizes single contacts at the leading end of FLEX arrays, resulting in a tip that is exceptionally flexible and atraumatic. Unlike perimodiolar or mid-scala arrays, the FLEX-Tip is smoothly rounded to avoid catching on intracochlear structures. This flexible tip can gently glide along the scala tympani, avoiding damage to the basilar membrane and other delicate cochlear structures.

Over the past few years we’ve seen a growing body of evidence to support flexible, straight, atraumatic, lateral wall electrode design.  Furthermore, there is strong evidence to support the value of deeper electrode insertions and apical stimulation.  In 1933 researchers found that cochlear duct length (CDL) in otherwise normal anatomy varied by as much as 10 mm, from 25-35 mm in overall length.  More recently in 2014, George Alexiades, MD, confirmed those findings, noting wide variability of CDL. He proposed the use of CT scan images to reliably estimate the two-turn and complete CDLs in human temporal bones.  Preoperative determination of CDL would allow for choice of the most appropriate electrode option specific to the needs of each unique candidate and each unique ear. 

The newly released FLEXSOFT, a 31 mm electrode array available with the SYNCHRONY cochlear implant, should be considered for candidates with otherwise normal anatomy of the cochlea.  With a versatile design and exceptional hearing outcomes, FLEX arrays are an ideal choice for nearly every cochlear implant candidate.

For more information on the MED-EL, visit medel.com/us or the MED-EL Expo on AudiologyOnline.


kevin vukovich

Kevin Vukovich, MS, CCC-A

Senior Surgical Education Manager

Kevin Vukovich has been working in the field of cochlear implants for over 20 years and is currently the Senior Surgical Education Manager at MED-EL Corporation. Prior to joining MED-EL in 2011, Kevin has been responsible for various clinical, technical, and sales support functions within the cochlear implant industry and was a clinical audiologist at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, TN. Kevin received his bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Towson State University and his master’s degree in Audiology from the University of Southern Mississippi.


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