J Neurosurg 116:697–702, 2012. http://thejns.org/doi/abs/10.3171/2011.12.JNS111404
Facial nerve paresis can be a devastating complication following resection of large (> 2.5 cm) cerebellopontine angle (CPA) tumors. The authors have developed and used a new high-density diffusion tensor imaging (HD-DT imaging) method, aimed at preoperatively identifying the location and course of the facial nerve in relation to large CPA tumors. Their study objective was to preoperatively identify the facial nerve in patients with large CPA tumors and compare their HD-DT imaging method with a traditional standard DT imaging method and correlate with intraoperative findings.
Methods. The authors prospectively studied 5 patients with large (> 2.5 cm) CPA tumors. All patients underwent preoperative traditional standard- and HD-DT imaging. Imaging results were correlated with intraoperative findings.
Results. Utilizing their HD-DT imaging method, the authors positively identified the location and course of the facial nerve in all patients. In contrast, using a standard DT imaging method, the authors were unable to identify the facial nerve in 4 of the 5 patients.
Conclusions. The HD-DT imaging method that the authors describe and use has proven to be a powerful, accurate, and rapid method for preoperatively identifying the facial nerve in relation to large CPA tumors. Routine integration of HD-DT imaging in preoperative planning for CPA tumor resection could lead to improved facial nerve preservation.