Key Points about Endolymphatic Sac Decompression
- Endolymphatic sac surgery is an ENT procedure used to treat severe cases of Meniere’s disease.
- While Meniere's disease is not curable, treatments can help relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
- Your doctor may recommend endolymphatic sac decompression if you are experiencing vertigo associated with Meniere’s and have not found symptom relief with conservative treatments.
- Risks associated with endolymphatic sac decompression include vertigo, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and facial nerve injury.
- During the surgery, your doctor will cut into the outer layer of the endolymphatic sac and insert a shunt to allow the ear to drain.
- Most patients go home after the procedure and return to work the day after the procedure. Your hearing will progressively improve after the surgery.
Endolymphatic sac surgery is a surgery that is used to help maintain the hydrostatic pressure and endolymph homeostasis in the inner ear for patients with Meniere’s disease.
During the surgery, your doctor will remove a small amount of bone from around the endolymphatic sac. The endolymphatic sac is a non-sensory structure in the inner ear.
The goal of the procedure is to reduce the pressure of the fluid in the sac, which will help relieve symptoms of vertigo and preserve hearing.
Candidates for endolymphatic sac decompression
Endolymphatic sac decompression is a last resort option after conservative treatments failed to relieve your symptoms. Your doctor will evaluate your case to determine if you are a candidate.
Conditions that can be treated with endolymphatic sac decompression include:
- Meniere's disease - patients who are experiencing symptoms of Meniere's disease, such as progressive hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus may find relief with endolymphatic sac decompression surgery.
- Hearing loss - endolymphatic sac decompression has shown to preserve hearing in patients with light to moderate hearing loss.
Risks associated with endolymphatic sac decompression
While endolymphatic sac decompression is a relatively safe procedure, complications can occur. Complications include:
- Hearing loss
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Facial nerve injury
- Leaking spinal fluid (rare)
What to expect during endolymphatic sac decompression
Endolymphatic sac decompression is performed under general anesthesia. Typically, the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. You will be able to go home the day of the procedure. Plan to have someone drive you home after surgery.
Your doctor will make an incision behind the ear to expose the mastoid bone. He or she will then open the mastoid to reveal the endolymphatic sac. Your doctor will remove a small amount of bone and cut a hole in the outer layer of the sac. A shunt will be placed in the sac to allow the ear to drain when fluid reforms. The incision will then be stitched closed.
The procedure takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
Recovery after endolymphatic sac decompression
After the surgery, you will be moved to a recovery room where you will be monitored. If you do not experience any complications, you will be discharged. You will need to have someone with you to drive you home.
You may experience pain while the area is healing. If necessary, ask your doctor what pain relief options are most appropriate for your case.
Typically, you can return to work the day after surgery. Your hearing will progressively improve over the following few weeks. Hearing will eventually return to normal.