Quality of Life in Patients with Vestibular Schwannomas Following Gross Total or Less than Gross Total Microsurgical Resection: Should We be Taking the Entire Tumor Out?

Neurosurgery 82:541–547, 2018

The goal of microsurgical removal of a vestibular schwannoma is to completely remove the tumor, to provide long-term durable cure. In many cases, less than gross total resection (GTR) is performed to preserve neurological, and especially facial nerve function.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze long-term quality of life (QoL) in a cohort of patients who received either GTR or less than GTR.

METHODS: Patients operated for vestibular schwannoma less than 3.0 cm in posterior fossa diameter at 1 of 2 international tertiary care centers were surveyed using generic and disease-specific QoL instruments.

RESULTS: A total of 143 patients were analyzed. GTR was performed in 122, and 21 underwent less than GTR. QoL was assessed at a mean of 7.7 yr after surgery (interquartile range: 5.7-9.6). Patients who underwent GTR had smaller tumors; otherwise, there were no baseline differences between groups. Patients who underwent GTR, after multivariable adjustment for baseline features and facial nerve and hearing outcomes, reported statistically significantly better Short Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36) physical and mental scores, Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS-10) physical and mental scores, and Penn Acoustic NeuromaQuality of Life (PANQOL) facial, energy, general health, and total scores compared to patients receiving less than GTR.

CONCLUSION: GTR is associated with better QoL using the general QoL measures SF-36 and PROMIS-10 and the disease-specific PANQOL, even after controlling for baseline and outcome differences. This is especially significant in the assessment of mental health, indicating there may indeed be a psychological advantage to the patient that translates to overall well-being to have the entire tumor removed if microsurgical resection is undertaken.