Montreal teen first in North America to have MIPS hearing aid surgery
When 15-year-old Karina Theoret stepped into an operating room at the Montreal Children's Hospital this week, she was more excited than nervous.
“I had a one-week notice, and that whole week I was really excited for it,” she said.
Karina has been deaf in her right ear since she was born. Wednesday's surgery didn’t change that, but it will help.
Over the summer, Karina tried out wearing a hearing implant on a headband to see if there would be an improvement, and there was.
This week she became the first person in North America to undergo a new technique called MIPS - Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery. The surgery entails anchoring a hearing implant in the bone of her skull.
“This is like a breakthrough because in the past we used to do them all under general anesthesia. They had to make an incision in the skin to expose the bone,” said Dr. Sam Daniel from the Montreal Children's Hospital.
Instead of it being a two-hour procedure, it took 10 minutes. She was awake for the entire procedure.
“Dr. Daniel, he was talking to me the whole time. He was like, ‘Okay, you good down there?’ I’m like, ‘Yup, all good.’ He’s like, ‘Okay, let's bring the drill.’ ‘Okay,’ [I’d reply],” she said, laughing.
Karina won't be able to hear in stereo but she will be able to hear through her left ear things that are happening on her right side.
“It works with the vibrations. So, the hearing aid's going to cap sounds and it's going to make it into vibrations and that's going to go throughout my skull and it's going to make my left ear hear for my right one, technically,” she explained.
Since the operation takes such little time, Dr. Daniel is hoping even more patients can be helped.
“In the Quebec health care system where our time is at a premium, this will allow us to [help] more patients,” he said.
And because of her experience, Karina is now thinking about becoming a surgeon – music to her doctor’s ears.