The non-specific effect of endolymphatic sac surgery in treatment of Meniere's disease: a prospective, randomized controlled study comparing "classic" endolymphatic sac surgery with the insertion of a ventilating tube in the tympanic membrane

J Thomsen, P Bonding, B Becker, J Stage, M Tos
Acta Oto-laryngologica 1998, 118 (6): 769-73
A prospective, randomized study was carried out comparing the effect of two surgical modalities in the treatment of patients with Meniere's disease: insertion of an endolymphatic sac shunt and insertion of a ventilating tube in the tympanic membrane. A total of 29 patients, 12 males and 17 females, age 27-71 years, were operated on in two ear, nose and throat (ENT) departments. Of these patients, 15 had an endolymphatic shunt inserted and 14 had a ventilating tube inserted in the tympanic membrane. Postoperative follow-up was carried out in the department in which the patients had not been operated. The severity of the disease was scored pre- and postoperatively, and the results evaluated under the guidelines of the Committee on Hearing and Equilibrium (1995) for the diagnosis and evaluation of therapy in Meniere's disease. The patients in both groups had a statistically significant reduction in dizzy spells, measured 6 and 12 months postoperatively, and there was no difference between the groups. The pathophysiological explanation for the reduction in dizzy spells in each of the treatment modalities is debatable and the effect is non-specific. The patients' hearing and tinnitus were statistically unaffected by the treatment in both groups, though 2 patients in the shunt group developed severe hearing loss (anacusis/70 dB).

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