First LA Auditory Brainstem Implant


A team of surgeons from CNC Hearing and Balance Center and Culicchia Neurological in New Orleans performed a complex surgery involving the brainstem, hearing and facial nerves to restore hearing to a patient with profound hearing loss.

Neurotologist Moises Arriaga and Neurosurgeon Frank Culicchia performed Louisiana’s first Auditory Brainstem Implant at LCMC West Jefferson Medical Center.

The surgical team implanted the device directly into the brainstem, bypassing the ear and auditory nerve to stimulate hearing.

The complex surgery provides hearing to patients unable to benefit from a traditional hearing aid or cochlear implant due to an absent hearing nerve. It is also an option to restore hearing to patients suffering from neurofibromatosis type 2, a rare condition that causes tumors to grow on the hearing nerves.

During the 7 hour surgery, surgeons implanted electrodes in the brain stem that will allow the patient to receive sound, and hear. A decoding chip was placed under the skin to receive sound signals from a mircrophone and transmit that sound to the electrodes in the brainstem.

In approximately 6 weeks, the processor will be activated by an audiologist at CNC Hearing and Balance Center and the patient will begin acclimating to hearing sounds.

“The Auditory Brainstem Implant requires a precise combination of brain and neurotologic surgery to locate the exact point in the brainstem for the electrodes to initiate the hearing process. It represents a significant surgical first for Louisiana, LCMC West Jefferson Medical Center, CNC Hearing and Balance Center and Culicchia Neurological,” said Moises Arriaga, MD, “but most importantly it means there is greater hope that fewer patients will live in a silent world.”

Dr. Arriaga is director of the Otology / Neurotology program at LSU Health New Orleans and Dr. Culicchia is chair of Neurosurgery at LSU Health New Orleans.



Culicchia Neurological Clinic New Orleans Brain MRI