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Gauging the effectiveness of canal occlusion surgery: how I do it

  • F Hassannia (a1), P Douglas-Jones (a1) and J A Rutka (a1)



Transmastoid occlusion of the posterior or superior semicircular canal is an effective and safe management option in patients with refractory benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or symptomatic superior semicircular canal dehiscence. A method of quantifying successful canal occlusion surgery is described.


This paper presents representative patients with intractable benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or symptomatic superior semicircular canal dehiscence, who underwent transmastoid occlusion of the posterior or superior semicircular canal respectively. Vestibular function was assessed pre- and post-operatively. The video head impulse test was included as a measure of semicircular canal and vestibulo-ocular reflex functions.


Post-operative video head impulse testing showed reduced vestibulo-ocular reflex gain in occluded canals. Gain remained normal in the non-operated canals. Post-operative audiometry demonstrated no change in hearing in the benign paroxysmal positional vertigo patient and slight hearing improvement in the superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome patient.


Transmastoid occlusion of the posterior or superior semicircular canal is effective and safe for treating troublesome benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or symptomatic superior semicircular canal dehiscence. Post-operative video head impulse testing demonstrating a reduction in vestibulo-ocular reflex gain can reliably confirm successful occlusion of the canal and is a useful adjunct in post-operative evaluation.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Dr Fatemeh Hassannia, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, 8N Room 873, 200 Elizabeth Street, Toronto M5G 2C4, Canada E-mail: Fax: +1 416 340 327


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Dr F Hassannia takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper



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Gauging the effectiveness of canal occlusion surgery: how I do it

  • F Hassannia (a1), P Douglas-Jones (a1) and J A Rutka (a1)


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