What is endolymphatic sac decompression?

Endolymphatic sac decompression is a treatment that is performed to maintain the hydrostatic pressure and endolymph homeostasis in the inner ear for patients with Meniere’s disease.

This procedure can reverse the damage to the ear while maintaining the balance of your hearing levels.

Who is a candidate for endolymphatic sac decompression?

Endolymphatic sac decompression is most appropriate for patients who are experiencing vertigo attacks associated with Meniere’s disease. In some patients, it is performed to stop the progression of hearing loss.

Risks associated with endolymphatic sac decompression

Complications can arise during endolymphatic sac decompression surgery. Complications may include:

  • Vertigo — in some cases, vertigo attacks may not improve or even worsen
  • Hearing loss — in some cases, hearing may worsen
  • Tinnitus — in rare cases, you may experience more ringing in the ear after surgery than before surgery
  • Facial nerve injury — while a facial nerve injury is rare, it can occur after any surgery in the ear
  • Leaking spinal fluid — while this is very rare, it can lead to meningitis

What to expect during endolymphatic sac decompression

Endolymphatic sac decompression can be performed on an outpatient basis or in an ambulatory surgery center under general anesthesia. During the procedure, your doctor will make an incision behind the ear and open the mastoid bone. The bone will be removed to reveal the endolymphatic sac. The bone is then removed from the sac and a laser will cut a hole in the outer layer of the sac. A shunt will be inserted into the sac. Once in place, the incision is closed. The procedure takes approximately 90 minutes. 

You will be moved to a recovery room where you will be monitored until you wake up. If everything looks good, you will be discharged an hour after the procedure.

Recovery from an endolymphatic sac decompression

After surgery, you may experience pain. Talk to your doctor if over-the-counter medications are not effective in relieving your pain. 

Most patients return to work the day after surgery. Your hearing will gradually improve over the course of a few weeks and eventually return to normal.

Results from endolymphatic sac decompression

Endolymphatic sac decompression has proven to be an effective treatment for patients with Meniere’s disease who are experiencing vertigo. It is most effective in patients who have light to moderate hearing loss.

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