Electrical stimulation of the auditory system after labyrinthectomy

J. L. Kemink, P. R. Kileny, J. K. Niparko, S. A. Telian

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7 Scopus citations


For many years labyrinthectomy has been used as a reliable surgical treatment for patients with unilateral nonserviceable hearing associated with episodic vertigo. In view of the rehabilitative potential of the cochlear implant, the role of labyrinthectomy has been questioned because of a concern to preserve structures of the auditory periphery. However, recent reports demonstrate substantial survival of spiral ganglion cells after labyrinthectomy, suggesting that such patients might be candidates for rehabilitation with cochlear implants if necessary. To address this question from a physiologic approach, we investigated the electrical stimulability of the operated ear in patients who underwent transmastoid labyrinthectomy for the management of vertigo. Ten patients were studied intraoperatively with electrically evoked middle latency response (MLR) potentials. Six of these patients were studied between 3 and 15 months postoperatively via transtympanic stimulation. Postoperatively all patients demonstrated an excitable auditory periphery and behavioral thresholds were similar to intraoperative electrophysiologic thresholds for the same stimuli. These results suggest the persistence of excitable auditory neural elements following labyrinthectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-10
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Otology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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