Insertion of a cochlear implant (CI) into the scala tympani evokes electrode insertion trauma that can result in mechanical damage of the lateral and medial wall and causes ingrowth of fibrous tissue on the implant surface. In consequence, it is of great clinical interest to modify the silicone surface of CI electrodes in order to inhibit and minimize the overgrowth by connective tissue. In this case, the covalent coupling of bifunctional polymers on common CI silicone surfaces is a versatile method to influence the implant cell interaction, but is still a challenge due to the chemically unreactive properties of silicone. We present a sophisticated method to apply a biodegradable polymer coating, such as polylactide or polyhydroxybutyrate, on silicone surfaces to generate a drug delivery system using a covalently bound intermediate layer. The adhesive coatings were applied via spincoating processes with different adherence to the intermediate layer. Changes in surface morphology were investigated by comparison of pure silicone and coated silicone. Specific polymer bands of the infrared spectra were detected by IR spectroscopy. Results indicate a complete coating with polylactide or polyhydroxybutyrate. The presented method is a versatile tool for the coating of silicone CI electrodes with degradable polymer layers.
© 2019 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston
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