Face-to-face four hand technique in vestibular schwannoma surgery: results from 256 Danish patients with larger tumors

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:61–69

The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical outcome after microsurgical treatment of vestibular schwannomas using face-to-face four hand technique in 256 Danish patients treated in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Copenhagen University Hospital from 2009 to 2018.

Methods Data were retrospectively collected from patient records.

Results The mean tumor size was 30.6 mm and approximately 46% of the patients had tumors >30 mm. In around 1/3 of the patients a retrosigmoid approach was used and in 2/3 a translabyrinthine. In 50% of the patients, the tumor was completely removed, and in 38%, only smaller remnants were left to preserve facial function. The median operative time was approximately 2.5 h for retrosigmoid approach, and for translabyrinthine approach, it was around 3.5 h. One year after surgery, 84% of the patients had a good facial nerve function (House-Brackmann grade 1–2). In tumors ≤ 30 mm approximately 89%preserved good facial function, whereas this was only the case for around 78% of the patients with tumors > 30 mm. In 60% of the patients who had poor facial nerve function at hospital discharge, the function improved to good facial function within the 1 year follow-up period. Four patients died within 30 days after surgery, and 6% underwent reoperation for cerebrospinal fluid leakage.

Conclusion Surgery for vestibular schwannomas using face-to-face four hand technique may reduce operative time and can be performed with lower risk and excellent facial nerve outcome. The risk of surgery increases with increasing tumor size.