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Laryngoscope. 1992 Apr;102(4):388-94.

Patterns of vestibular function following vestibular nerve section.

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  • 1Michigan Ear Institute, Farmington Hills.


Bithermal caloric irrigations, low-frequency rotational chair stimulation, and posturography were performed on 20 patients before and after vestibular nerve section. Twelve patients demonstrated acute postoperative spontaneous nystagmus and rotational vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) asymmetry. Eight patients demonstrated minimal acute postoperative spontaneous nystagmus and VOR asymmetry. Four patients had suppression of all vestibular function characterized by an absent contralateral caloric response, low VOR gain, and falls on posturography when required to rely solely on vestibular input to maintain posture. Four patients had a severe preoperative vestibular loss and no acute change in vestibular function following surgery. Over time, 5 patients continued to manifest elevated spontaneous nystagmus, 2 patients manifested a persistent rotational VOR asymmetry, and 5 patients exhibited a return of caloric function in the operated ear. It is suggested that multiple clinical factors contributed to the variable vestibular responses demonstrated in this study.

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