Retrolabyrinthine vestibular nerve section: efficacy in disorders other than Menière's disease

J L Kemink, S A Telian, H el-Kashlan, A W Langman
Laryngoscope 1991, 101 (5): 523-8
The retrolabyrinthine vestibular nerve section has evolved as an effective treatment for intractable vertigo of peripheral vestibular origin when hearing preservation is desired. This report studies the efficacy of retrolabyrinthine vestibular nerve section for control of vertigo due to causes other than Meniere's disease. This report details our experience with 42 patients with a wide variety of diagnoses. The reduced success rate of retrolabyrinthine vestibular nerve section in these patients is difficult to evaluate, as very few patients have been analyzed with respect to their specific diagnoses. Of patients who underwent retrolabyrinthine vestibular nerve section for control of vertigo, 23 patients had uncompensated vestibular neuritis and 19 others had a wide range of other diagnoses. For patients with uncompensated vestibular neuritis (n = 23), the physician record noted that 39% of patients were cured and 30% improved. This compares to our series of patients with Meniere's disease (n = 48), where 94% were cured and 2% improved. The true vestibular abnormality may be less reliably identified in patients with uncompensated vestibular neuritis, contributing to the less effective results. Since the development of a vestibular rehabilitation program, retrolabyrinthine vestibular nerve section for uncompensated vestibular neuritis has been all but abandoned. Retrolabyrinthine vestibular nerve section appears to achieve a high cure rate in patients with sensorineural hearing loss associated with their vestibular abnormalities. While retrolabyrinthine vestibular nerve section is helpful for control of vertigo in some diagnoses, a substantial incidence of persistent postoperative dysequilibrium was noted.

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