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Ménière's Disease - Surgery

Surgery for Ménière's disease can cause permanent damage to your hearing. Talk with your doctor about surgical options if repeated attempts at less invasive treatment methods have failed to relieve your symptoms. Surgery may be considered for people with Ménière's disease who:

  • Have persistent or frequent attacks of severe vertigo (a spinning sensation) that do not improve after using medicine.
  • Have symptoms that are so debilitating that it becomes difficult to get through the events of daily life.
  • Are affected in only one ear.

Surgeries that may be used to treat Ménière's disease include:

  • Endolymphatic sac decompression, which removes some of the bone surrounding the inner ear .
  • Endolymphatic shunt, which inserts a tube to drain excess fluid from the inner ear.
  • Vestibular nerve section, which cuts the nerve that controls hearing and balance from the affected inner ear.
  • Labyrinthectomy, which removes the balance center of the inner ear (labyrinth). This nearly always stops vertigo but also results in total hearing loss in that ear. It is most commonly used for people who have already lost most of their hearing.

The goal of surgery is to eliminate the symptoms while keeping as much hearing in the ear as possible. But the most extreme forms of surgery (vestibular nerve section and labyrinthectomy) always result in complete hearing loss in that ear. The possibility of losing your hearing in the treated ear is a major consideration when you are deciding whether to have surgery to treat Ménière's disease. In some cases, the disease may have already greatly damaged your hearing, which makes the risk of being deaf in that ear less important.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 13, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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