Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1357–1364
Hemangioblastomas (HGBs) are highly vascular benign tumors, commonly located in the posterior fossa, and 80% of them are sporadic. Patients usually present with features of raised intracranial pressure and cerebellar symptoms. HGB can be classified as either mostly cystic or solids. Although the solid component is highly vascularized, aneurysm or hemorrhagic presentation is rarely described, having catastrophic results.
Methods We identified 32 consecutive patients with posterior fossa HBG who underwent surgery from 2008 through 2020 at our medical center. Tumors were classified as predominantly cystic or solid according to radiological features. Resection was defined as gross total (GTR) or subtotal (STR).
Results During the study period, 32 posterior fossa HGBs were resected. There were 26 cerebellar lesions and 4 medullar lesions, and in 2 patients, both structures were affected. Predominant cystic tumors were seen in 15 patients and solids in 17. Preoperative digital subtraction angiography (DSA) was performed in 8 patients with solid tumors, and 4 showed tumor-related aneurysms. Embolization of the tumors was performed in 6 patients, including the four tumor-related aneurysms. GTR was achieved in 29 tumors (91%), and subtotal resection in 3 (9%). Three patients had postoperative lower cranial nerve palsy. Functional status was stable in 5 patients (16%), improved in 24 (75%), and 3 patients (9%) deteriorated. One patient died 2 months after the surgery. Two tumors recurred and underwent a second surgery achieving GTR. The mean follow-up was 42.7 months (SD ± 51.0 months).
Conclusions Predominant cystic HGB is usually easily treated as the surgery is straightforward. Those with a solid predominance present a more complex challenge sharing features similar to arteriovenous malformations. Given the important vascular association of solid predominance HGB with these added risk factors, the preoperative assessment should include DSA, as in arteriovenous malformations, and endovascular intervention should be considered before surgery.
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