Endoscopic far‑lateral supracerebellar infratentorial approach for resection of dumbbell‑shaped trigeminal schwannoma

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2913–2921

Trigeminal schwannomas (TSs) are mostly benign tumors. However, dumbbell-shaped TSs are most challenging for surgeons and pose a high surgical risk.

Objective We describe the technique of the purely endoscopic far-lateral supracerebellar infratentorial approach (EFLSCITA) for removing dumbbell-shaped TSs and further discuss the feasibility of this approach and our experience. Methods EFL-SCITA was performed for resection of 5 TSs between January 2020 and March 2023. The entire procedure was performed endoscopically with the goal of total tumor resection. During the operation, the tumor was exposed in close proximity and multiple angles under the endoscope, and the peri-tumor nerves were carefully identified and protected, especially the normal trigeminal fiber bundles around the tumor.

Results All the tumors of 5 patients involved the middle and posterior cranial fossa, of which total removal was achieved in 2 patients and near-total removal in 3 patients. The most common preoperative symptoms were relieved after surgery. Two patients had postoperative mild facial paralysis (House-Brackmann grade II), and 1 patient had abducens palsy; both recovered during the follow-up period. Two patients experienced new postoperative facial hypesthesia, and 1 experienced mastication weakness, which did not recover. There was no tumor recurrence or residual tumor growth during the follow-up period in any of the patients.

Conclusion EFL-SCITA is a new and effective alternative for the surgical treatment of TSs. For dumbbell-shaped TSs, this approach provides sufficient surgical field exposure and freedom of operation.