Safety of radiofrequency ablation for adenotonsillectomy after cochlear implantation

Matthew C. Gropler, Brittany A. Leader, David J. Brown, James R. Benke, Stephen P Bowditch, Stacey L. Ishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: While a cadaveric animal study has suggested that radiofrequency ablation can be safely used in patients with cochlear implants, no in vivo studies have been published to confirm that radiofrequency ablation does not alter the integrity of the cochlear implant device. Methods: Cochlear implant impedance and functional performance were studied through a prospective case series in five children with seven functioning multichannel implants before and after radiofrequency ablation adenotonsillectomy. Results: There were 4 females and 1 male patient, aged 6–10 years (mean 8.5 ± 1.95 years) with 7 functioning implants. Pre- and post-surgical impedance testing revealed all electrodes were within normal operating limits. There was no statistically significant difference between the mean pre and post-operative impedances in 5 of the 7 tested implants (P = 0.2–0.8). The other two implants showed statistically significant improvement in impedance values which were not clinically significant (P = 0.02 and P < 0.001). Speech perception was unchanged as was functional performance for all 7 tested implants. Conclusions: We found that radiofrequency ablation used in the oropharynx during adenotonsillectomy did not alter the integrity of the cochlear implant devices when assessed using electrode impedance testing, audiometry and speech perception evaluation. These results confirm those reported in previous in vitro studies and confirm the safety of radiofrequency ablation adenotonsillectomy for children who have undergone previous cochlear implant placement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-70
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Adenotonsillectomy
  • Coblation
  • Cochlear implant
  • Implant
  • In vivo
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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