New to this discussion, with a question about choosing a surgeon

Hi all. I am new here. I have had HAs for 10 years, and my audiologist is suggesting that I consider a CI. I fought it, but a scare at work (where I completely missed a very important discussion because of my hearing) has me moving towards one now.

I told a doctor friend of mine, who talked to a CI surgeon friend of hers at Rutgers. The guy has done over 800 implants, so it sounds like he’s top notch. But I live 1,000 miles away, near New Orleans. My audiologist is encouraging me to see a surgeon who is nearby, but the Rutgers doctor said he has never heard of the nearby surgeon, and is skeptical. Rutgers doctor said I could travel up there. He also suggested a surgeon about 150 miles away, in New Orleans, and a guy at Vanderbilt, who appears to be top notch. I am leaning towards the New Orleans surgeon.

But I wonder. How often do I need to see the surgeon? I wouldn’t think much. And do I need to use an audiologist connected to the surgeon for my mapping? Again, I would not think so.

Basically I want to put together the best team I can.

@wtmcgowin, I’ve never had an cochlear implant experience, but I suggest you review the credentials and experience of whomever you choose to do your surgery and pre-/post-op care. Also, do keep in mind that you want your surgeon to be easily accessible in the event you have any complications. New Orleans has some good medical schools–there has to be a ENT surgeon or professor who can refer you to the best team in your area for you specific problem. Wishing you the best.

The surgeon I am leaning towards is Moises Arriaga, who practices at several clinics around NOLA, including LSU and Ochsner. He was recommended to me, and his credentials are impressive. If I interview him, I’ll see what he says about audiologists. NOLA is 2 hours away and I have a place to stay and work over there, so it would be pretty easy.

David Haynes at Vandy seems to be the best of the best. But that’s 7 hours away. I’ll go there, however, if he’s significantly better and if I don’t have to keep going to Nashville for follow up. As I am typing this, I am thinking. I don’t like being so far away from Nashville if I have a problem. I can get to NOLA quickly-not Nashville.

Sounds like you’ve got it covered, @wtmcgowin. I’m sure that someone at LSU or Ochsner Clinic might be able to help as well. Wishing you luck and better hearing.

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@wtmcgowin I have s friend whose just had (last February) a revision at Vanderbilt In Nashville by the Dr you mentioned. She’s been a Bil CI for several years now. But her hybrid array failed and they needed to insert a longer array. This revision has been a wonderful success for her… Not a lot of revisions are truly successful due to scar tissue build up. So I can recommend you do some research into the Vanderbilt surgeons. Hopefully you won’t be getting a hybrid array, they have been removed from the market her in Australia because of the issues arising from failure several years down the track.

@wtmcgowin my friend travels from Michigan to Nashville to see her Dr. He recommended a CI Aud in her home city for mappings. She travels 8-9 hours to get to Nashville. But to get a good outcome I think I would do the same.

Curious what you’ve found out and if you’ve made any decisions.

Not yet. I’m still gathering information. As for Vanderbilt, David Haynes came highly recommended. I’m not ruling out going there, but I am leaning towards Dr. Arriaga in NOLA. My plan is to go see him, get evaluated (I should be a candidate if my audiologist’s testing is accurate), then decide.

Interestingly I had to go by my audiologist today to pick up a HA that had been repaired. I started talking about CIs, and the audiologist seeing me mentioned that she used to run a CI support group. We talked a lot about brands-she really advocated Cochlear, which I was glad to hear. I like the idea of the Rondo, if it’s appropriate for me.

I should clarify-if Arriaga is of the same caliber as the Vanderbilt docs, I’ll probably use him. I have read enough to realize that the skill of the surgeon can make a big difference in your outcome.

After the surgery only a doctors can change a parts of CI, like a sound processor in every five years, am I correct? How much it costs?

@wegierka the sound processor is the external part, the part you take off and put on every day. The part that your Audiologist does the mappings too.
The only parts the Dr has anything to do with is the implanted part during the actual operation. And praise be once it’s implanted he never has to touch it again. As to cost it varies depending on your insurance.

I asked about replace of the sound processor. You can’t do that.

@wegierka well I’m sure as hell not sleeping with it on!! Take note of the diagram, note where the sound processor is. It’s on the outside of the head. You need to find a new source of information. Because whoever you asked is very wrong!!! I’m sure the surgeon won’t be visiting every patient to remove the processor every night either.

I’m still asking who can replace the sound processor. And how much it costs. That’s it. Don’t yell when you have no answer.

@wegierka I’m not yelling. I don’t know where you come from? I don’t know if you have health insurance. If you have health insurance ask them these questions. Every insurance company is very different in rules and regulations. But they are the people to be asking.
For me I have health insurance, I can get mine replaced every 3 years at no cost through my health insurance. My Aud writes the request and it’s changed over to the latest model.