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Vestibular Outcomes in Bilateral Posterior Semicircular Canal Occlusion for Refractory Benign Positional Vertigo

Carr, Simon D.; Rutka, John A.

doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000001876

Introduction: Bilateral posterior semicircular canal (PSCC) occlusion is a successful treatment of bilateral benign positional vertigo (BPV) refractory to particle repositioning manoeuvers. Little about the effects on the vestibular ocular reflex (VOR) postoperatively, which is the intent of this study.

Methods: All patients who underwent bilateral posterior canal occlusion for BPV at the University Health Network by the senior author (J.A.R.) between 2001 and 2017 with pre- and postoperative vestibular testing were included in the study.

All patients underwent a detailed history and neuro-otological examination including dynamic visual acuity (DVA). Laboratory testing including video head impulse testing or magnetic scleral search coil testing, video nystagmography, cervical and ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potentials and audiological testing before and following their procedure at 1, 6, and 12 months postoperatively.

Results: Three patients were included in the study, all females, with a mean age of 41 years (range 36–44 yr). All patients had developed bilateral BPV after head trauma. Mean length of follow-up was 26 months (range 6–84 mo). All patients demonstrated a reduction in the vertical VOR of between 0.37 and 0.57o/s at 1 month postocclusion. Between 6 and 12 months postoperatively, an improvement in their vertical VOR between 0.45 and 0.75o/s was observed. Clinically, all patients reported complete resolution of their positional vertigo with a negative Dix-Hallpike bilaterally at follow-up. None reported oscillopsia, which was confirmed with DVA testing.

Conclusion: Bilateral PSCC occlusion results in a reduction in the vertical VOR of the PSCCs.

Over a 6 to 12 month time period improvement in the VOR gain can be demonstrated, most likely due to central compensation. There is clinical correlation with improvement in DVA testing. Bilateral PSCC occlusion is a safe and effective treatment for bilateral BPV proved refractory to particle repositioning manoeuvers.

Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Simon D. Carr, M.D., F.R.C.S. (ORL-HNS), Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, 200 Elizabeth Street, 8N-873, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5G 2C4; E-mail:

The authors disclose no conflicts of interest.

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