Abstract Cochlear implant candidates with mastoid cavity present a significant challenge to safe cochlear implantation because of possible spread of infection to the inner ear as well as an increased risk of electrode array extrusion. Closure of the external auditory canal is one of the several surgical techniques utilized to block the potential entry routes for infection and to protect the implanted device. The main concern after external auditory canal closure is the risk of developing a cholesteatoma, which can lead to an asymptomatic erosion of the temporal bone and/or cochlear implant failure. In this study we present the results of very long-term (mean 12 years) clinical and radiological follow-up in 12 patients who underwent external auditory canal closure associated with mastoid and Eustachian tube obliteration to facilitate cochlear implantation. To date, with a mean ± SD follow- up of 12 ± 4.7 years (range 5–21 years), the only com- plication experienced was the breakdown of the EAC closure in one patient, successfully treated by performing a rotation skin flap. The results of this study confirmed that external auditory canal closure is a reliable technique in cochlear implantation after radical mastoidectomy pro- vided that a rigorous surgical technique is performed. A right balance between the need to reduce costs and to avoid unnecessary doses of radiation to patients and the task of a radiological surveillance may be represented by perform- ing computed tomography 12–18 months postoperatively and then, only if clinically warranted.
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