Date: Aug. 31, 2005
CONTACT: Julie Toland, julie.toland@ttuhsc.edu

LUBBOCK – The first cochlear implant surgery at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has been successfully performed by Joehassin Cordero, M.D., with the guidance of Ming Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

Cochlear implants restore hearing when hearing aids cannot help. A collaborative Health Sciences Center team participated in the surgery. After the device was implanted inside the cochlea, audiologist Dwayne Paschall, Ph.D., performed intra-operative monitoring to test the function of the implanted device. He also performed the first primary fitting of the device with the guidance of Zhang. Audiologist Steven Zupancic, Ph.D., also participated in the implant surgery.

“Dr. Cordero completed the surgery in less than one hour, which is extremely unusual in the field,” Zhang said. “This particular cochlear implant surgery was one of the best surgeries I have ever seen in my life. It was an enjoyment of an art.”

Zhang came to the Health Sciences Center in 2001 in the hopes of establishing a cochlear implant program. He has received fellowship trainings at several institutes with renowned cochlear implant programs, including the University of Zurich and House Ear Institute. Zhang serves as faculty in the Department of Surgery – Otolaryngology, as well as an assistant professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences in the School of Allied Health Sciences.

“We regard Dr. Zhang as the director of this team,” Cordero said. “Like a symphony, he has directed a very successful performance on the stage.”

The Health Sciences Center began doctoral-level cochlear implant courses in 2001, obtained cochlear implant equipment in 2003, began a fitting service in 2004 and reported the research data in 2005. And now with the successful surgery, the cochlear implant program has come to full fruition.

“The successful implant surgery is really a milestone in our history and has far-reaching future significance, symbolizing that the Texas Tech cochlear implant program is matured,” Zhang said. “A strong, collaborative cochlear implant program will help the Health Sciences Center provide excellence in education, research and services.”

For additional information, contact Zhang at 743-5660, ext. 229.