Question: Is it normal to have severe vertigo after middle ear surgery? I recently had a tympanotomy & stapedectomy, and now I am experiencing the symptoms of vertigo. If this is the case, how long does it usually last?
Thank you for your inquiry. Even though it can occur, it is not normal to have severe vertigo after having middle ear surgery. Some degree of lightheadedness and unsteadiness is common after surgery. But when it comes to any kind of surgical procedure, there are possible risks and complications that can occur.
When the symptoms of vertigo do occur it may reflect irritation of the inner ear. Careful treatment can help prevent a poor hearing outcome. In many instances, treatment includes rest, eating a well-balanced diet, and practicing the avoidance of loud noise. While a stapedectomy typically restores partial or total hearing in almost 95% of cases, for that 5% that fails, revision surgery may be necessary to solve the problem. In the case of experiencing severe vertigo after a stapedectomy, exploration of the middle ear should always be performed by a hearing specialist.
In some instances, experiencing vertigo after middle ear surgery could be related to a perilymphatic fistula. When a perilymph fistula is present, there is an abnormal opening (usually a tear or some type of defect) between the inner and the middle ear. When there is a tear present, it causes fluid to leak into the middle ear. Treatment for a perilymph fistula often requires strict bed rest, which will allow your body to repair the tear on its own. However, if symptoms do not improve your doctor may suggest surgical repair of the perilymph fistula. Going the surgical route can help prevent your symptoms from getting worse.
Seeing an audiologist regarding your symptoms is highly recommended.