Trigeminal schwannoma: a single-center experience with 43 cases and review of literature

British Journal of Neurosurgery 2021, 35:1, 49-56

Trigeminal schwannomas (TS) are rare, when compared to vestibular schwannomas. The present study aims to analyze the clinical characteristics and surgical strategies of TS via the retrospective analysis of the clinical data of 43 patients.

Methods: The clinical information of 43 patients diagnosed with TS, who were surgically treated from January 2008 to January 2018, was retrospectively analyzed. Then, the selection of approaches and surgical strategies were discussed.

Results: During the last 10 years, 43 patients with TS received surgical treatment at Xuan Wu Hospital of Capital Medical University. Facial numbness and hypoesthesia were the most common symptoms, which developed in 29 cases (67.4%). Typical trigeminal neuralgia was complained by four patients (9.3%), while trigeminal motor impairment developed in nine cases (20.9%). The tumor was totally removed in 39 patients (90.7%), near-totally removed in three patients (7.0%), and partially removed in one patient (2.3%) due to intraoperative internal carotid artery (ICA) injury. The abducens was intraoperatively damaged in two patients (4.7%). After the operation, all four patients with trigeminal neuralgia achieved total recovery, but the facial numbness still continued in 24 patients (82.8%). At a median of 45.3 ± 25.5 (6–84) months of follow up, a tumor recurred in only one patient, and this patient received a second operation.

Conclusion: It can be concluded that total removal via the proper approach can be the best treatment for TS with a low complication rate. However, preoperative symptoms, such as facial numbness and trigeminal motor impairment that seldom improved though normal fibers, were carefully recognized and preserved during the operation.