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What is the surgical treatment procedure for vertigo?

Category :  Featured Article

By:  Aditi Arora

Vertigo is characterized by sudden dizziness, sensations of spinning around or moving, being off-balance, & feeling as if the surroundings are moving. Vertigo is often accompanied by dizziness, nausea, headaches of migraine intensity, hearing issues, disorientation, motion sickness, & in some cases, acrophobia, or a fear of heights.

It’s important to remember that vertigo is not a condition or a disorder in itself, rather a manifestation of some other underlying illness, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed.

Based on your exact vertigo diagnosis test results, your symptoms, medical history, & other factors, your doctor will recommend you a specific vertigo treatment plan.

Treatment for vertigo can consist of vertigo exercises, vertigo medicines, vertigo surgery, & home remedies. Your vertigo treatment will also largely depend on the exact vertigo causes & vertigo symptoms that you’re experiencing.

A few of the most common vertigo causes are mentioned below:

  • BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), which is caused by the deposition of loose calcium crystals in the semicircular canal of the inner ear. These normally reside in the middle ear. These crystals are motion-sensitive, & thus they cause problems with the brain’s detection of motion signals sent from the vestibular system located inside the inner ear.
  • Meniere’s Disease, caused by an abnormal amount of fluid inside the inner ear (also known as endolymphatic fluid). This excessive fluid causes pressure changes in the ear, leading to balance problems, dizziness, nausea, motion sickness, headaches, & tinnitus(ringing sound in the ears)
  • Vestibular Neuritis, which is an infection of the vestibular nerve that carries balance-related signals from the vestibular system to the brain & vice-versa. When this nerve gets infected or inflamed, balance signals can’t properly reach the brain & the person experiences dizziness, nausea, & motion sickness.
  • Which is also an inner ear infection caused by viruses or bacteria, & leads to the inflammation of the vestibular nerve, causing dizziness & vertigo symptoms.

Other Vertigo causes include head injuries, blunt force trauma, inner ear surgeries, & side effects of certain medications.

Vertigo symptoms:

Patients experience a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to:

  • Spinning
  • Swaying in one direction
  • Tilting in one direction
  • Headaches of migraine intensity
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Motion sickness
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears(tinnitus)
  • Hearing loss

These symptoms usually occur along with other symptoms, & may come & go in intervals. They are often triggered by changes in the position of the head, or by certain movements. Vertigo treatment consists of a variety of vertigo exercises, vertigo medicines, vertigo home remedies, & herbal supplements. In some cases, & depending on the exact vertigo cause & severity of your vertigo symptoms, surgical treatment for vertigo may also be required.

In this article, we consider the surgical treatment for vertigo for the various types of vertigo & vertigo causes.

Surgical treatment for vertigo:

There are certain scenarios in which surgical treatment for Vertigo is also required. The surgical approach is generally taken when other vertigo treatment methods like Vertigo exercises & Vertigo medicines, home remedies, etc. have failed to bring about the desired outcomes.

Like every other vertigo treatment method, the surgical treatment for vertigo also depends on your exact vertigo diagnosis & vertigo causes.  Below, we list a couple of surgical treatments for vertigo, for all the different types of vertigo.

Perilymph Fistula:

When you’re suffering from perilymph fistula, your surgical vertigo treatment will consist of exploring the eardrum area & placing a kind of ‘patch’ in place of the broken window membrane. This membrane serves as the distinction between the middle ear & the inner ear, & keeps the endolymphatic fluid from leaking out from one side to the other.

Recently, this type of surgical treatment has also been used for the treatment of dehiscence of the superior canal syndrome, which also causes vertigo symptoms in patients.

Surgical treatment for vertigo, when it’s caused by perilymph fistula, is still controversial & medically cynical. However, it has shown success in treating the condition of some patients suffering from perilymph fistula.

Microvascular compression:

Microvascular compression syndrome refers to the condition where a nerve or blood vessel starts pressing on the vestibular nerve, leading to vertigo symptoms like dizziness, nausea, disorientation, etc.

The surgical treatment for vertigo brought about by this condition includes removing the vessel hounding the vestibular nerve. Since this surgery is quite complicated & requires exact precision, it is best done by an experienced neurosurgeon. There are currently no medically documented cases where a patient experienced immediate relief following this surgical procedure for the treatment of Microvascular Compression?

Hence, the medical jury is still out on this surgical vertigo treatment method.

Meniere’s Disease:

For the treatment of vertigo symptoms that have Meniere’s Disease as vertigo cause, a surgical procedure called endolymphatic sac shunt surgery is performed. This surgery is performed to improve the plumbing in the inner ear, by shunting the endolymphatic sac so that no further fluid leaks out of it.

The most common type of shunt surgery includes putting a small tube in a plastic sheet into the endolymphatic sac to close it down.

Medical researchers do not show any tangible success rates for this particular vertigo treatment surgery, although in some cases, it does help reduce the severity of vertigo symptoms in a patient.

Other surgical treatments for vertigo procedures that are used to treat Meniere’s Disease are:

  • Vestibular Nerve Section (VNS); in which the vestibular nerve is sectioned via the middle fossa, retrolabyrinthine, & retrosigmoid approaches.
  • Transtympanic gentamycin treatment; which is sometimes also called chemical labyrinthectomy. It is a quick-growing outpatient surgical treatment for vertigo which is considered similarly effective as the VNS, but with fewer amount of risks.

Acoustic Neuroma:

Surgical treatment for vertigo caused by acoustic neuroma focuses on removing the tumor, whilst keeping the surroundings nerve area safe from damage. Unlike most of the other surgical vertigo treatment methods discussed in this article, this particular surgical treatment for acoustic neuroma actually works in most cases. Patients report feeling a lot better & getting relieved of their vertigo symptoms brought on by acoustic neuroma.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV):

Selective Posterior Canal plugging is a very popular & successful surgical vertigo treatment method, used by doctors from all around the world. Other surgical procedures for BPPV Vertigo treatment like singular neurectomy is somewhat less popular than SPCP, as it incurs a hearing loss in about 7-17% of vertigo patients.

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