Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a common inner ear disorder that affects balance. In the event of trauma, as a result of virus or with age, naturally existing crystal otoliths (calcium carbonate) in the ear become dislodged. The overriding symptom of BPPV is brief vertigo, lasting less than one minute. Paroxysmal means it happens suddenly. Positional refers to the fact that it is brought on when head or body position is changed, as when looking upwards, rolling over in bed, lying flat, sitting up in bed or getting out of bed.
Besides vertigo, other symptoms include:
- "Brain fog"
- Lightheadedness/dizziness between vertigo spells
Medical history and a physical examination are used to diagnose BPPV. Observing eye movement when the patient is placed in various positions helps to determine the condition. To better understand and treat patients, an OSU Wexner Medical Center physician or advance practice provider may test for other specific causes of BPPV, including labyrinthitis or Meniere’s disease.
The Department of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has a staff dedicated to perform the most advanced testing. That helps ensure you are properly diagnosed so that your treatment can be as effective as possible and that you can get faster results.
BPPV is treated by putting the patient in various physical positions, called Epley maneuvers, to move the displaced otoliths. These head and body movements take about five minutes and often deliver immediate results. However, in some cases, it can take 24-72 hours to be symptom-free. If you have a relapse, you can be successfully treated again. There is relatively little risk to this procedure.
Why Choose Ohio State
The Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at OSU Wexner Medical Center has been successfully evaluating and treating patients with ear-related issues for decades. Many of our patients are referred to us by local ENTs due to our outstanding reputation.
A dedicated testing staff: We have a vestibular technician who is highly trained to recognize vestibular disorders through vestibular testing.
Trained specialists: Among our physicians are a group of neurotologists who are highly skilled in treating all diseases of the ear, medically or surgically. Many of the neurotologists in the state of Ohio are found here.
Nationally recognized: OSU Wexner Medical Center is recognized by U.S.News & World Report one of the nation’s best hospitals for care of the ear, nose and throat.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is BPPV and how did I get it?
What are the symptoms?
How do I know if I have BPPV?
How is it treated?
What if I have BPPV in both ears?
Will I feel better immediately after the Epley maneuver?
What do I do when I leave the office?
Is there a medication or surgery that will cure this instead?
Can I do this maneuver at home?
Will it come back?
What if the Epley maneuver does not work for me?
Will I need to make another appointment?