Superior semicircular canal dehiscence is a recently recognized disorder affecting the bony coverage of one balance (semicircular) canal. The details on the cause of this disorder remain unknown. It mostly causes hearing loss and a variety of balance symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to other more unspecific symptoms such as brain fog and head noise.
Most cases of superior semicircular canal dehiscence do not require surgical intervention. However, with severe symptoms that affect the patient’s quality of life, surgery may become necessary.
To repair the dehiscence, the canal is typically plugged with bone wax or muscle tissue. The superior canal can be accessed via two routes: through the mastoid bone (bone behind the ear canal via ear surgery) or from above the ear via a middle fossa approach. The latter approach requires a craniotomy with brief elevation of the temporal lobe. More recently, literature suggests similar results with a transmastoid approach through the ear.
Plugging the superior semicircular canal might not control all symptoms associated with the disease. However, in most cases, symptoms are at least markedly reduced after surgery. The risks of the procedure essentially depend on the surgical approach taken and typically include those observed with other ear surgeries.