Key Points about Vestibular Nerve Section
- A vestibular nerve section is a procedure that helps eliminate vertigo attacks while preserving hearing.
- The most appropriate candidates for a vestibular nerve section are patients who are experiencing severe vertigo attacks associated with Meniere’s disease.
- Side effects associated with a vestibular nerve section include headache, pain, loss of hearing, ringing in your ears, infection, nerve injury, or meningitis.
- During the procedure, your doctor will cut the nerves that manage your balance while keeping your hearing nerves intact.
- Patients will need to stay in the hospital for one to three days after surgery.
A vestibular nerve section is an ENT procedure where the vestibular part of the cochleovestibular cranial nerve is cut to eliminate vertigo attacks while preserving hearing.
Most patients will be able to normal function within three to four weeks and experience complete relief from their vertigo symptoms after vestibular nerve section surgery.
Candidates for a vestibular nerve section
Your doctor will determine if you are a candidate for a vestibular nerve section.
Patients who are experiencing intense vertigo associated with Meniere’s disease are the most appropriate candidates.
A vestibular nerve section is generally reserved for patients who have good hearing in the affected ear and have failed to find symptom relief from aggressive medical management.
Risks associated with vestibular nerve section
Vestibular nerve section is a complicated procedure. Risks associated with the procedure include:
- Loss of hearing
- Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
- Nerve injury
- Cerebrospinal fluid leak
Preparing for a vestibular nerve section
In preparation for surgery, your doctor and care team will outline a variety of actions you should take before surgery to prepare for a successful recovery.
- Inform your doctor of all medications, including herbal medicines, you are taking.
- Stop taking any medications that may interfere with surgery or recovery at the specified date.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid eating or drinking for 12 hours before surgery.
Expectations during a vestibular nerve section
A vestibular nerve section is performed under general anesthesia. You will be asleep for the surgery.
During the procedure, your surgeon will access the vestibular nerve through an incision behind the ear. Your doctor will carefully cut the vestibular nerve, leaving the cochlear fibers (hearing nerves) intact. Your surgeon will close the dura mater as well as the incision site.
Recovery from a vestibular nerve section
After surgery, you will be moved to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for monitoring. As soon as you are stable, you will be moved to a regular hospital room and will remain in the hospital for one to three days to recover. Your care team will provide supportive medical care to help you manage your loss of balance and vertigo.
After discharge, some patients need a walker to steady themselves while walking. You will also likely need vestibular and balance therapy to speed up the recovery process.
Most patients will eventually return to normal function within three to four weeks after surgery. Most patients experience complete relief from their vertigo, and their hearing is preserved at the preoperative level.