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Laryngoscope. 2012 Aug;122(8):1862-6. doi: 10.1002/lary.23390. Epub 2012 Jul 2.

Transmastoid semicircular canal occlusion: a safe and highly effective treatment for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and superior canal dehiscence.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.



Transmastoid occlusion of the superior semicircular canal in superior semicircular canal dehiscence (SSCD) syndrome and the posterior semicircular canal in intractable benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) will produce resolution of preoperative symptoms.


Retrospective review, quality assurance.


Sixteen patients with SSCD and 61 patients (65 ears) with intractable BPPV who underwent canal occlusion were reviewed. All patients underwent occlusion of the affected semicircular canal through a transmastoid approach.


Preoperative symptoms (vestibular, 13 patients; pulsatile tinnitus, 2 patients; or hyperacusis, 1 patient) were greatly improved or completely resolved in 15 of the 16 SSCD patients who underwent transmastoid occlusion of the superior canal. Hearing was preserved in 14 patients and improved in two patients. Vestibular symptoms were resolved in all intractable BPPV patients who underwent transmastoid occlusion of the posterior canal. One patient had a late recurrence of atypical BPPV. Almost all BPPV patients with normal preoperative hearing have an initial transient postoperative hearing loss, which when tested for is usually a mild to moderate mixed loss. Delayed sensorineural hearing loss was noted in three patients; one loss was profound whereas two were mild.


The transmastoid approach to canal plugging is successful in the treatment of symptoms in both SSCD and intractable BPPV, and is a familiar approach for the otologist. This is a viable alternative to the middle fossa approach for SSCD, thereby avoiding a craniotomy. Transmastoid is the definitive approach for posterior canal occlusion.

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