Efficacy and safety of bilateral posterior canal occlusion in patients with refractory benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: Case report series

Jayant Ramakrishna, Joel A. Goebel, Lorne S. Parnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To highlight the effectiveness, safety, and adverse effects of treating intractable posterior canal benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) with bilateral posterior canal occlusions. PATIENTS: Included in this study are 6 patients diagnosed with bilateral BPPV refractory to medical treatment and particle repositioning maneuvers (PRMs) who underwent bilateral posterior semicircular canal occlusions. Patients were selected from tertiary hospital referral centers in London, Ontario, Canada, and St. Louis, Missouri, USA. INTERVENTIONS: This study used the following interventions: preoperative and postoperative audiogram testing to monitor long-term changes in hearing, computed tomography of the head to rule out central lesions and confirm normal inner ear anatomy before surgery, magnetic resonance imaging of the head as needed to rule out posterior fossa lesions causing persistent vertigo, Dix-Hallpike maneuver to diagnose BPPV, PRM and physiotherapy vestibular rehabilitation to attempt treating BPPV before surgical intervention, and sequential transmastoid posterior semicircular canal occlusion for treatment of intractable BPPV. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Postoperative resolution of vertigo induced by head movement and hearing preservation by audiometric testing and postural stability. RESULTS: All patients with severe debilitating bilateral BPPV refractory to medical treatment and PRM had complete resolution of their positional vertigo after bilateral sequential posterior semicircular canal occlusion. Hearing was preserved at the preoperative level in all but 1 patient who developed bilateral postoperative, mild, high-tone sensorineural loss. Residual postoperative adverse effects included transient imbalance in all patients and episodic, nonpositional vertigo in 1 patient. When stressed by extreme head motion, some patients had mild residual instability. There were no other significant long-term complications. CONCLUSION: Bilateral sequential posterior semicircular canal occlusion is a definitive, effective, and safe treatment modality for intractable bilateral BPPV, providing patients with resolution of their vertiginous symptoms. All 6 patients stated that the alleviation of their BPPV symptoms far out-weighed the residual motion sensitivity resulting from the occluded canals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-642
Number of pages3
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bilateral posterior canal occlusion
  • Refractory benign paroxysmal positional vertigo


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