Objective: To evaluate the change in dizziness handicap after translabyrinthine vestibular schwannoma excision.
Study design: Prospective administration of the Dizziness Handicap Inventory preoperatively and at 3 and 12 months postoperatively; retrospective review of case notes.
Setting: A tertiary referral neuro-otology clinic.
Patients: A total of 100 consecutive patients who had vestibular schwannomas excised between June 1998 and November 2001 and who had completed Dizziness Handicap Inventories preoperatively and at 3 and 12 months postoperatively.
Interventions: Translabyrinthine excision of a unilateral sporadic vestibular schwannoma; preoperative and postoperative generic vestibular rehabilitation exercises.
Main outcome measures: Dizziness Handicap Inventory scores.
Results: For most patients, dizziness handicap does not worsen postoperatively. However, for those in whom it does, dizziness handicap becomes significantly worse between preoperative and 3-month postoperative time points but then does not continue to decline. Tumor size, sex, and magnitude of preoperative canal paresis significantly affect the degree of change in handicap. Age, the presence of central vestibular system abnormalities, and the nature of the patient's principal presenting symptom have no effect on this handicap change.
Conclusions: These findings help the clinician in counseling the patient preoperatively about dizziness handicap to be expected postoperatively. In particular, the clinician is now able to take an informed and positive stance in the event of a severe canal paresis preoperatively.