Impact of vestibular nerve preservation on facial and hearing outcomes in small vestibular schwannoma surgery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2219–2224

Management of small vestibular schwannomas (VSs) remains controversial. When surgery is chosen, the preservation of facial and cochlear nerve function is a priority. In this report, we introduce and evaluate a technique to anatomically preserve the vestibular nerves to minimize manipulation and preserve the function of the facial and cochlear nerves.

Methods The vestibular nerve preservation technique was prospectively applied to resect small VS tumors in patients with serviceable preoperative hearing (American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) class A or B). Clinical and radiological data were recorded and analyzed.

Results Ten patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean (SD) age was 40.4 (12.5) years. Follow-up ranged from 6 weeks to 2 years. The maximum tumor diameter parallel to the internal auditory canal ranged from 10 to 20 mm (mean, 14.9 (3.1) mm). There were three Koos grade 3 and seven Koos grade 2 tumors. Gross total resection was achieved in all cases. Both the facial and cochlear nerves were anatomically preserved in all cases. Postoperatively, 7 patients (70%) remained in the AAO-HNS class A or B hearing category. None of the patients had new vestibular symptoms, and all had House–Brackmann grade 1 facial function. Nervus intermedius dysfunction was observed in 1 patient preoperatively, which worsened postoperatively. Two patients had new nervus intermedius symptoms postoperatively.

Conclusion Improvement of facial nerve and hearing outcomes is feasible through the intentional preservation of the vestibular nerves in the resection of small VSs. Longer follow-up is required to rule out tumor recurrence.

Key anatomical landmarks for middle fossa surgery: a surgical anatomy study

J Neurosurg 131:1561–1570, 2019

Middle fossa surgery is challenging, and reliable surgical landmarks are essential to perform accurate and safe surgery. Although many descriptions of the middle fossa components have been published, a clinically practical description of this very complex anatomical region is lacking. Small structure arrangements in this area are often not well visualized or accurately demarcated with neuronavigation systems. The objective is to describe a “roadmap” of key surgical reference points and landmarks during middle fossa surgery to help the surgeon predict where critical structures will be located.

METHODS The authors studied 40 dry skulls (80 sides) obtained from the anatomical board at their institution. Measurements of anatomical structures in the middle fossa were made with a digital caliper and a protractor, taking as reference the middle point of the external auditory canal (MEAC). The results were statistically analyzed.

RESULTS The petrous part of the temporal bone was found at a mean of 16 mm anterior and 24 mm posterior to the MEAC. In 87% and 99% of the sides, the foramen ovale and foramen spinosum, respectively, were encountered deep to the zygomatic root. The posterior aspect of the greater superficial petrosal nerve (GSPN) groove was a mean of 6 mm anterior and 25 mm medial to the MEAC, nearly parallel to the petrous ridge. The main axis of the IAC projected to the root of the zygoma in all cases. The internal auditory canal (IAC) porus was found 5.5 mm lateral and 4.5 mm deep to the lateral aspect of the trigeminal impression along the petrous ridge (mean measurement values). A projection from this point to the middle aspect of the root of the zygoma, being posterior to the GSPN groove, could estimate the orientation of the IAC.

CONCLUSIONS In middle fossa approaches, the external acoustic canal is a reliable reference before skin incision, whereas the zygomatic root becomes important after the skin incision. Deep structures can be related to these 2 anatomical structures. An easy method to predict the location of the IAC in surgery is described. Careful study of the preoperative imaging is essential to adapt this knowledge to the individual anatomy of the patient.

Posterior petrous bone meningiomas: surgical experience in 53 patients and literature review

Neurosurg Rev (2012) 35:53–66. DOI 10.1007/s10143-011-0333-6

Meningiomas of the posterior fossa represent a heterogeneous group of tumors regarding difficulty of resection and functional outcome.

The aim of this review was to focus on tumors located mainly on the posterior surface of the petrous bone and threatening hearing and facial functions.

An anatomical classification was used to evaluate surgical outcome depending on the relationship of the tumor to the internal auditory meatus. The authors performed a retrospective chart review of 53 consecutive patients operated on for a posterior petrous bone meningioma in a tertiary referral center and a literature review. Tumors were classified in four groups according to the modified Desgeorges and Sterkers classification: posterior petrous (P; 17 tumors), meatus and internal auditory canal (M; 12 tumors), petrous apex without invasion of the internal auditory canal (A; 9 tumors), and cerebellopontine angle with invasion of the internal auditory canal (AMP; 15 tumors).

The facial function was preserved in 100% of P and A tumors, 75% of group M tumors, and 53% of AMP tumors. Hearing preservation was attempted only in P, A, and M groups where rates of serviceable hearing preservation were 82%, 80%, and 66%, respectively. The cumulative rate of hearing preservation for AMP tumors was 45% in our literature review. The increased facial morbidity associated with AMP tumors compared with other groups was also confirmed by the review of the literature.

In conclusion, this study shows that among posterior petrous bone meningiomas, tumors invading the internal auditory canal present with increased postoperative functional morbidity in spite of a tailored approach regarding dural insertion.

Dural Landmark to Locate the Internal Auditory Canal in Large and Giant Vestibular Schwannomas: The Tübingen Line

Neurosurgery 69[ONS Suppl 1]:ons99–ons102, 2011.  DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31821664c6

In cases of large and giant vestibular schwannomas (VS), the visualization of the internal auditory canal (IAC) opening is difficult or impossible.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the Tübingen line and explore its relationships with the IAC as a landmark to help locate the IAC.

METHODS: Ten cadaveric heads were used in this study. Between 2004 and 2009, the senior author (M.T.) used the Tübingen line as a landmark to recognize the IAC in 300 consecutive patients with VS. To locate the Tübingen  line, the initial step was to identify several vertical foldings of dura located around the area of the vestibular aqueduct. After this, foldings upward consistently reached a linear level where all of the foldings ended and the dura tightly adhered to the bony surface in a smooth, foldless shape.

RESULTS: The Tübingen line was identified in all temporal bones studied and in all 300 patients operated on, with the exception of 2 cases (,1%). Removal of the bone just above the Tübingen line located the IAC in all temporal bone specimens studied. Similarly, the surgical cases showed that the Tübingen line helped locate the IAC in all patients.

CONCLUSION: The Tübingen line is an easy, consistent, and safe method to locate the projection of the IAC along the posterior surface of the temporal bone.