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Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2002 Jun;35(3):639-53.

Chemical perfusion of the inner ear.

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  • 1Ear Research Foundation, Florida Ear and Sinus Center, 1961 Floyd Street, Sarasota, FL 34239, USA.


In general, chemical perfusion therapy of inner ear disease is safe, inexpensive, and easy to perform. High inner ear medication concentrations can be achieved while minimizing systemic side effects. Most delivery methods are minimally invasive and can be performed in the office. The treatment is usually well accepted by patients. Vertigo control rates for Meniere's disease have been excellent--rivaling other prominent surgical treatments--allowing intratympanic therapy to become the most prominent first-line treatment for Meniere's disease. Side effects of ototoxicity occurring in approximately 30% of patients remain as one of the primary hurdles to overcome. Most patients who experience hearing loss, however, do not complain of the loss and are simply happy to be free of their vertigo attacks. The use of oral steroids to rescue and preserve hearing during gentamicin perfusion remain promising, and complete recovery and even hearing improvement have been observed [30]. Steroid perfusion of the inner ear also is variably effective for the treatment of SSHL, and is particularly indicated when oral steroids fail or are contraindicated due to other health reasons. Many inner ear perfusion methods and philosophies of treatment exist. Each technique has its associated advantages and disadvantages, and the individual surgeon must decide which technique to use in concordance with the patient's disease and expectations. In the future, new medications likely will be developed to treat certain types of inner ear disease, including SSHL, tinnitus, and various forms of vertigo. These medications can be administered by direct chemical perfusion of the inner ear.

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