HEARO is the world’s first robotic surgical system for high precision, minimally invasive cochlear implantation
A Minimally Invasive and Highly Precise Access to the Inner Ear
Cochlear implantation is one of the most complex microsurgical procedures. The HEARO robotic system enables the surgeon to perform a minimally invasive and high-precision 1.8 mm wide access to the middle ear cavity. The tunnel runs between the facial nerve (facial muscle control) and Chorda tympani (taste nerve) with an average distance of 0.4 mm from the facial nerve. This requires a robot-supported drilling accuracy, which in tenth of a millimeter range.
The HEARO procedure
By creating a tiny channel from the surface of the skull to the round window of the cochlea for insertion of the implant, it reduces trauma for the patient and enables to achieve consistent surgical results.
To minimize the risk of structural or heat damage to the facial nerve, chorda tympani and other critical anatomical structures, HEARO uses several integrated safety features. The active safety measures include continuous neuromonitoring, interoperative imaging-based verification of safety distances with OTOPLAN and real-time monitoring of the torque during drilling. Additional passive safety elements include micro-precision imaging and specialized robot-assisted drilling technology, which have been developed to minimize any heat generation. When approaching and when passing through the facial recess HEARO offers facial nerve monitoring for active mapping of safety distances to the facial nerve, completely independent of the image guidance.
How robotic cochlear implantation leads the way into a new area of otology.
Connect HEARO with OTOPLAN
OTOPLAN is a software for pre-interventional otological planning. With OTOPLAN the surgeon can use 3D reconstructions of CT-images to plan and calculate the trajectory for each patient for an optimal angle for insertion of the implant into cochlea.
Individualized Cochlear Implantation
Aligning the trajectory angle to the natural anatomy of the cochlea can help to facilitate a smooth insertion of the electrode array into the scala tympani. At the same time the trajectory is planned in a way, that helps preserve critical structures like the facial nerve and the Chorda tympani.
Optimal trajectory angle to the round window of the cochlea (orange) passing the facial nerve (yellow) and chorda tympani (dark yellow)
Swiss Medtech Award
HEARO is developed in close cooperation with MED-EL, global innovation leader in hearing loss solutions. In 2019 HEARO won the Swiss Medtech Award and received CE marking in 2020.