The very first cochlear implant surgery procedure to be performed by a government hospital in Southeast Asia was recently performed at the Universitiy Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (PPUKM) in Malaysia. The surgery was performed on a 36-year old patient named Dewiseri Taib. Taib was partially deaf. The surgery is allows patients who are hearing-impaired to hear.
Dr. Datuk Dr Lokman Saim performed the surgery with Australian ear specialist Rob Briggs. A second operation was performed on a 22-month old baby girl. The baby girl was born deaf on both ears. The two patients are already stable and recovering. The surgeries were performed using the newest technology in Cochlear Implants. A device known as ‘Cochlear Nucleus 5’, a slim and high-tech cochlear implant was implanted to the two patients. The patients will undergo speech and audiology therapies once they have fully recovered. The therapies will help the patients be familiar with the process of hearing. The cochlear implant surgery marks another success for the PPUKM. According to Dr. Saim the hospital was also recently chosen as a venue for a cochlear implant workshop. Surgeons from all over Asia- Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore- will attend the workshop.
The surgery costs anywhere from Malaysian Ringgit 70,000 to75,000 ($20,051- $21,483) or about 50% of how much the procedure typically costs in the US. The whole procedure takes about an hour to complete. In the US, cochlear implant surgery can cost up to $40,000. This price also does not include pre-surgery investigation and post-surgery therapies.