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A morphological and morphometric study of the peripheral process of the human vestibular nerve following posterior cranial fossa neurectomy

  • Ken Kitamura (a1), Katsumasa Takahashi (a2), Hiroyuki Kakoi (a2), Taro Sugimoto (a1) and Herbert Silverstein (a3)...


Three vestibular nerve specimens removed at transmeatal neurectomy were studied in order to understand better retrograde degeneration and regeneration after vestibular neurectomy in the posterior cranial fossa. In two cases this procedure followed retrolabyrinthine retrosigmoid posterior fossa vestibular neurectomy. The subjects, three patients with Menière's disease, were compared with one another and two autopsy controls with no known otological problem. The specimens were obtained at the distal end of the internal auditory canal and transversely sectioned. Many collapsed Schwann cell basement membranes were observed. The ratio of small-diameter nerve fibres increased significantly after neurectomy. Onion bulb formation around myelinated nerve fibres with small diameters and Schwann cell proliferation around the soma of vestibular ganglion cells reflected remyelination. We conclude that peripheral processes of vestibular nerve fibres can undergo retrograde degeneration and subsequent regeneration after transection of the central process.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: K. Kitamura M.D., Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan. Fax: +81 3 5803 0146 e-mail:


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