An holistic approach to Meniere's disease. Medical and surgical management


  • Presented at the Meeting of the Middle Section of the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc., Oklahoma City, OK, January 23, 1981.

  • From the Department of Otolarysology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Shambaugh Ear Institute and the Department of Surgery (Neurosurgery) Hlnsdale Hospital, Hinsdale, IL,


A review of the medical and surgical management of 195 patients with Meniere's disease is presented. In order to avoid a piecemeal approach to the problem of Meniere's disease, the “whole” patient must be treated. Psychological counseling, medical management, and when indicated selective surgical management is advocated. The diagnosis of Meniere's must be confirmed through careful history, physical, neurotological evaluation and selective testing.

The majority of patients can be controlled medically; however, in this study 52 (26%) patients underwent surgical therapy. Twenty-eight patients underwent some type of saccus surgery for Meniere's disease with overall relief of 71%; however, better relief of vertigo was seen with labyrinthectomy and nerve section. The most common indication for surgery was disabling vertigo. However, fluctuating progressive sensorineural loss, may be an important reason to advise surgery.

Surgical techniques for Meniere's disease continue to evolve. A graduated approach is preferred, starting with endolymphatic-mastoid shunt, proceeding to middle fossa vestibular nerve section when medical status and hearing are adequate. When hearing is socially inadequate, labyrinthectomy with or without yestibular nerve section is preferred. A good working relationship with a neurosurgeon is advised for otolaryngologists performing middle fossa surgery.