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Lawrance K. Chung, Nolan Ung, Marko Spasic, Daniel T. Nagasawa, Panayiotis E. Pelargos, Kimberly Thill, Brittany Voth, Daniel Hirt, Quinton Gopen and Isaac Yang

OBJECTIVE

Superior semicircular canal dehiscence (SSCD) is a rare disorder characterized by the formation of a third opening in the inner ear between the superior semicircular canal and the middle cranial fossa. Aberrant communication through this opening causes a syndrome of hearing loss, pulsatile tinnitus, disequilibrium, and autophony. This study analyzed the clinical outcomes of a single-institution series of patients with SSCD undergoing surgical repair by the same otolaryngologist and neurosurgeon.

METHODS

All patients who underwent SSCD repair at the University of California, Los Angeles, between March 2011 and November 2014 were included. All patients had their SSCD repaired via middle fossa craniotomy by the same otolaryngologist and neurosurgeon. Outcomes were analyzed with Fisher's exact test.

RESULTS

A total of 18 patients with a mean age of 56.2 years (range 27–84 years) and an average follow-up of 5.0 months (range 0.2–21.8 months) underwent 21 cases of SSCD repair. Following treatment, all patients (100%) reported resolution in ≥ 1 symptom associated with SSCD. Autophony (p = 0.0005), tinnitus (p = 0.0059), and sound- and/or pressure-induced dizziness (p = 0.0437) showed significant symptomatic resolution. Following treatment, 29% (2/7) of patients developed imbalance, 20% (1/5) of patients developed sound- and/or pressure-induced dizziness, and 18% (2/11) of patients developed aural fullness. Among patients with improved symptoms following surgical repair, none reported recurrence of symptoms at subsequent follow-up visits.

CONCLUSIONS

SSCD remains an underdiagnosed and undertreated condition. Surgical repair of SSCD using a middle fossa craniotomy is associated with a high rate of symptom resolution. Continued investigation using a larger patient cohort and longer-term follow-up could further demonstrate the effectiveness of using middle fossa craniotomy for SSCD repair.