Two of the surgical options that exist for the treatment of disabling vertigo arising from an ear with nonserviceable hearing are a transmastoid labyrinthectomy (TL) and a translabyrinthine vestibular nerve section (TLVNS). The major difference between the two operations is a section of the vestibular nerves with the TLVNS which removes all preganglionic vestibular tissue from the diseased inner ear. It has been inferred that a TLVNS should be the procedure of choice if hearing is not to be spared, because a TL results in an incomplete removal of preganglionic vestibular tissue, and that this remaining tissue might have continued or recurrent physiologic function resulting in further vertigo. The clinical outcome of 68 patients who had either TL or TLVNS for disabling vertigo arising from a nonserviceable hearing ear was investigated with respect to the control of vertigo and the development of postoperative balance dysfunction. The control of vertigo in the TLVNS and TL groups was 100% and 96.3%, respectively. This difference was not statistically significant. There was a tendency for postoperative dysequilibrium to be more frequent in the TLVNS group, but this finding did not reach statistical significance. A TL appears to offer the same benefit as TLVNS in the control of intractable episodic vertigo without the additional risks of TLVNS.