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Comparative study of vestibular function preservation in manual versus robotic-assisted cochlear implantation.

OBJECTIVE: To compare vestibular outcomes in cochlear implant (CI) surgery, between robotic-assisted insertion of the electrodes versus manual insertion.

METHODS: We performed a monocentric retrospective study. From March 2021, the robotic system RobOtol© was used for all CI cases. We compared this robotic-assisted insertion group with a manual insertion group of patients who received a CI between July 2020 and March 2021. Primary objective was vestibular outcome. We used objective vestibular function tests: caloric testing, Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP), and Video Head Impulse Test (VHIT). Secondary objectives were postoperative complications including patient-reported postoperative vertigo.

RESULTS: We found no statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of caloric testing, VEMP or VHIT outcomes. In patient-reported outcomes, there was significantly more vertigo in the manual insertion group compared with robotic-assisted insertion.

CONCLUSION: It is hypothesized that a non-traumatic insertion would cause less vestibular dysfunction postoperatively. Larger prospective studies are required to determine whether robotic-assisted CI insertion has a significant impact on vestibular outcomes in CI surgery.

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