Thirteen individuals with unilateral Meniere's disease were chosen for experimental chemical labyrinthectomy. All subjects suffered from frequent attacks of disabling vertigo and had mean pure-tone thresholds greater than 50 dB in the affected ear. The surgical procedure was similar to stapedectomy; after removal of the stapes, several crystals of NaCl were placed in the vestibule which was then covered with a vein graft. Postoperative recovery was rapid, allowing patients to be discharged 4-6 days after surgery. Of the 13 subjects, all reported complete relief from vertigo. Tinnitus was cured in 7 subjects, greatly improved in 4 and unchanged in 2. Most patients complaining of aural fullness preoperatively reported relief from this symptom following surgery. To date (up to 4 years post-surgery) none of the subjects has shown any significant alteration in audiologic or vestibular function in the contralateral ear. The ease and safety of this procedure make it an attractive method when cochleovestibular deafferentation is indicated.
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