Aug 3, 2010 Comments Off
The first 50s: can we achieve acceptable results in vestibular schwannoma surgery from the beginning?
Vestibular schwannoma surgery requires a profound knowledge of anatomy and long-standing experience of surgical skull base techniques, as patients nowadays requests high-quality results from any surgeon. This educes a dilemma for the young neurosurgeon as she/he is at the beginning of a learning curve. The presented series should prove if surgical results of young skull base surgeons are comparable respecting carefully planned educational steps.
Methods: The first 50 vestibular schwannomas of the first author were retrospectively evaluated concerning morbidity and mortality with an emphasis on functional cranial nerve preservation. The results were embedded in a timeline of educational steps starting with the internship in 1999.
Results: Fifty vestibular schwannomas were consecutively operated from July 2007 to January 2010. According to the Hannover Classification, 14% were rated as T1, 18% as T2, 46% as T3, and 21% as T4. The overall facial nerve preservation rate was 96%. Seventy-nine percent of patients with T1–T3 tumours had no facial palsy at all and 15% had an excellent recovery of an initial palsy grade 3 according to the House & Brackman scale within the first 3 months after surgery. Hearing preservation in T1/2 schwannomas was achieved in 66%, in patients with T3 tumours in 56%, and in large T4 tumours in 25%. Three patients suffered a cerebrospinal fluid fistula (6%), and one patient died during the perioperative period due to cardiopulmonary problems (2%).
Conclusions: The results demonstrate that with careful established educational plans in skull base surgery, excellent clinical and functional results can be achieved even by young neurosurgeons.