Vestibular nerve section: long-term follow-up

D G Pappas, D G Pappas
Laryngoscope 1997, 107 (9): 1203-9
Vestibular nerve section is considered an effective modality in the treatment of refractory and incapacitating vertigo. Typically nerve section results are described on the basis of short-term follow-up. We have reviewed 41 cases of vestibular nerve section spanning an 18-year period. Although the majority of cases involved classic Meniere's disease, delayed endolymphatic hydrops, vestibular neuritis, and Meniere's syndrome secondary to head trauma were also included. Surgical approaches included translabyrinthine (20 cases), retrolabyrinthine (14 cases), retrosigmoid (six cases), and middle fossa (one case) procedures. Postoperative follow-up time averaged 102 months, with 46% of patients followed for a minimum of 9 years. Results are reported according to standards set forth by the American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery. Vertigo was cured or markedly improved in 88% of cases (90% in patients with Meniere's disease) at 18 to 24 months postoperatively. These vertigo results were sustained at the time of latest follow-up. Functional level was also preserved over time despite the development of bilateral symptoms in several cases. The rate of bilateral disease reached 22% of cases. Although vertigo results remained stable, long-term follow-up of successful hearing preservation cases demonstrated deterioration over time. Postoperative continuation of medical treatment is urged to optimize and sustain the vestibular neurectomy result.

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