What is a vestibular nerve section?

A vestibular nerve section test is performed to stop recurrent attacks of vertigo. During the procedure, your surgeon will cut the vestibular part of the cochleovestibular cranial nerve.

Who is a candidate for a vestibular nerve section?

A vestibular nerve section is most appropriate for candidates who are suffering from severe Meniere’s disease and are experiencing recurrent vertigo attacks associated with the condition. This is a last resort treatment option that is performed if you have good hearing in the affected ear but have not experienced symptom relief after aggressive medical management.

Risks associated with a vestibular nerve section

A vestibular nerve section is a complex, risky procedure associated with a variety of complications including:

  • Pain 
  • Headache
  • Hearing loss 
  • Tinnitus 
  • Facial nerve injury
  • Leaking spinal fluid
  • Infection 
  • Meningitis

What to expect during a vestibular nerve section

During a vestibular nerve section, your surgeon will cut into the dura mater of the brain and retract the cerebellum to reveal the vestibular nerve. The vestibular nerve fibers are carefully cut while leaving the cochlear fibers intact. Your surgeon will then close the dura mater and incision site. 

Recovery from a vestibular nerve section

Following the surgery, you will be moved to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) directly after the procedure for monitoring. Once you are cleared to move to a regular room, you will remain in the hospital for a few days to recover. 

You may experience intense vertigo and loss of balance for a few days after the procedure that requires supportive medical care. Depending on your state, you may need medications to treat symptoms or a walker to help steady yourself while walking. After discharge, you may need vestibular and balance therapy to speed the recovery process.

Most patients will fully return to their normal function, but can feel tired, stressed or imbalanced.

Results from a vestibular nerve section

Although most patients report satisfaction after a vestibular nerve section, some procedures are not successful, and complications may occur.

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