The most common reason for performing a labyrinthectomy is to treat Meniere’s disease that has not responded to other treatments. Additionally, other forms of inner ear damage may be treated with a labyrinthectomy.
Following a mastoidectomy, the balance canals of the inner ear (the labyrinth) are removed surgically. This removes balance and hearing function from the ear and allows the body to compensate by learning to use the other normally functioning ear for balance. The surgery requires an inpatient stay for 1-3 days.
Following surgery, there is often severe vertigo for a day or two. This can be controlled with medication. After a week, the patient experiences a period of moderate imbalance without vertigo while the opposite ear takes over the command of the entire balance function and assumes full control. This period can last six to eight weeks. The more active an individual is after surgery, the more rapid the recovery of balance function will be.