In October 2013, ear surgeons from the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery and Audiology at Rigshospitalet in Denmark performed an innovative operation.
For the first time ever, surgeons combined removing a tumour on the vestibulocochlear nerve – called acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma – with implanting the new Baha Attract System in the cranial bone behind the ear.
“The magnet-based system is brand new. We are the first hospital in the world to introduce this system in connection with removing tumours,” says Per Caýe-Thomasen, Consultant from the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery and Audiology.
Tumour removals usually leave the patient with a permanent hearing loss in the affected ear. With the Baha Attract System, sound vibrations are transmitted through the skin to the internal magnet, through the bone to the inner ear on the other side of the head. The sound will then be perceived from both sides and therefore improve hearing considerably.
Located under intact skin, the magnet implant is not visible, which is a great cosmetic advantage. Moreover, as the system is only connected by the use of magnetic attraction, it reduces the risk of infection, inflammation and other skin complications.
“Combining removal of the tumour with implanting the magnet requires only one operation instead of two, and this obviously benefits patients as well as staff considerably,” says Per Caýe-Thomasen.