Near-dehiscence: clinical findings in patients with thin bone over the superior semicircular canal

Otol Neurotol. 2013 Oct;34(8):1421-8. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0b013e318287efe6.


Objective: To determine whether patients with thin bone over the superior semicircular canal can develop signs or symptoms of superior canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS).

Study design: Retrospective case series.

Setting: Tertiary referral center.

Patients: All patients from our institution found to have thin but not frankly dehiscent bone over the superior canal despite symptoms and signs of SCDS.

Main outcome measures: Preoperative CT imaging, symptoms, audiometry, vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP), and intraoperative electrocochleography (ECochG) results were reviewed. Symptoms were assessed at least 1 month postoperatively in all patients, and postoperative physiologic data are presented when available.

Results: Ten patients (11 ears) had thin bone over the superior semicircular canal at surgery. All presented with autophony or sound- and/or pressure-induced vertigo, in addition to at least 1 physiologic measure consistent with SCDS. CT imaging was read as showing either dehiscence (36%) or marked thinning of bone overlying the affected canal (64%). Preoperative median low-frequency air-bone gap (ABG) was elevated (10.9 dB; interquartile range [IQR], 8.8-12.5), with 4 patients demonstrating negative bone conduction thresholds. Patients had elevated oVEMP amplitude (median, 20.7; IQR, 6.7-22.1) μV and ECochG SP/AP ratios (median, 0.59; IQR, 0.54-0.67). Postoperative ABG and SP/AP ratio decreased significantly compared with preoperative values (p < 0.05), and all patients reported symptomatic improvement.

Conclusion: Symptoms typical of SCDS can occur in cases with thin but not dehiscent bone. Surgical plugging or resurfacing can reduce symptoms in such cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiometry
  • Audiometry, Evoked Response
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labyrinth Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Labyrinth Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Labyrinth Diseases / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Semicircular Canals / diagnostic imaging*
  • Semicircular Canals / surgery
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials