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Cochlear Patency After Transmastoid Labyrinthectomy for Ménière's Syndrome.

OBJECTIVE: Labyrinthectomy is considered the "gold standard" in the treatment of intractable vertigo attacks because of Ménière's Disease (MD) but sacrifices all residual hearing. Interest in auditory rehabilitation has lead to cochlear implantation in some patients. Concern remains that the cochlear lumen may fill with tissue or bone after surgery. This study sought to determine the incidence of obliteration of the cochlea after transmastoid labyrinthectomy.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective observational study.

SETTING: Tertiary referral center.

PATIENTS: Eighteen patients with intractable vertigo from MD who underwent surgery.

INTERVENTIONS: Transmastoid labyrinthectomy between 2008 and 2013. Cochleas were imaged with unenhanced, heavily T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Presence of symmetrical cochlear fluid signals on MRI.

RESULTS: There was no loss of fluid signal in the cochleas of operated ear compared with the contralateral, unoperated ear in any subject an average of 3 years (standard deviation [SD]: 1.2) after surgery. Five of 18 patients had the vestibule blocked with bone wax at the time of surgery. Blocking the vestibule with bone wax did not change the cochlear fluid signal.

CONCLUSION: The risk of cochlear obstruction after labyrinthectomy for MD is very low. The significance of this finding is that patients with MD who undergo labyrinthectomy will likely remain candidates for cochlear implantation in the labyrinthectomized ear long after surgery if this becomes needed. Immediate cochlear implantation or placement of a cochlear lumen keeper during labyrinthectomy for MD is probably not necessary.

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