What are potential complications from surgery?

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Dr. Chad Ruffin

ENT Doc and CI Surgeon

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What are potential complications from surgery?

Cochlear implant surgery is very safe. The risks are similar to having your gallbladder removed with tiny cameras.

General expectations:

+ Despite attempts to preserve hearing, loss of residual acoustic hearing can occur.

+ Change in taste or numbness on the side of the tongue occur in a minority of patients. This can take a year to resolve.

+ Pain at the incision site.

+ Postoperative tinnitus and vertigo can occur and usually subside over the next few days. It is rare for either to be permanent.

Rare complications:

It is rare, but some people do not receive much benefit from their implant. Scientific researchers are still working to understand why this occurs.Infection or failure of the internal device also occur rarely. Sometimes this requires removal and replacement of the device.

Exceedingly rare complications:

+ Facial weakness is rare but can be permanent.

+ Brain fluid leak.

It is becoming increasingly clear that untreated hearing loss has a severe impact on brain health. Delaying a cochlear implant is undertreating hearing loss. Between 1 to 9% of patients with untreated hearing loss will develop dementia. The risk of dementia may exceed the risk of serious cochlear implant complications.

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Patient Reviews of Chad Ruffin, MD

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Dr. Ruffin was the first person in over 10 years to actually take the time to really listen to me. He took the time to figure out what’s actually going on without chalking it up to something simple and sending me on my way.

Liz H.

I really appreciated Chad's honesty with options, having surgery being a last result and most of all explaining everything in layman's terms. I couldn't be happier with my experience and really appreciate him getting to the bottom of my ear issue and making it feel better than it ever has!

Mathew M.

Dr. Ruffin was incredibly knowledgeable, thorough and compassionate. He took the time to fully understand the issues and was able to provide immediate relief. Nothing short of a miracle here. Furthermore, the entire team was very kind and professional. One of the best medical experiences I have had!

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