Intratumoral Hemorrhage in Vestibular Schwannomas After Stereotactic Radiosurgery: Multi-Institutional Study

Neurosurgery 94:289–296, 2024

Intratumoral hemorrhage (ITH) in vestibular schwannoma (VS) after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is exceedingly rare. The aim of this study was to define its incidence and describe its management and outcomes in this subset of patients.

METHODS: A retrospective multi-institutional study was conducted, screening 9565 patients with VS managed with SRS at 10 centers affiliated with the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation.

RESULTS: A total of 25 patients developed ITH (cumulative incidence of 0.26%) after SRS management, with a median ITH size of 1.2 cm3 . Most of the patients had Koos grade II-IV VS, and the median age was 62 years. After ITH development, 21 patients were observed, 2 had urgent surgical intervention, and 2 were initially observed and had late resection because of delayed hemorrhagic expansion and/or clinical deterioration. The histopathology of the resected tumors showed typical, benign VS histology without sclerosis, along with chronic inflammatory cells and multiple fragments of hemorrhage. At the last follow-up, 17 patients improved and 8 remained clinically stable.

CONCLUSION: ITH after SRS for VS is extremely rare but has various clinical manifestations and severity. The management paradigm should be individualized based on patient-specific factors, rapidity of clinical and/or radiographic progression, ITH expansion, and overall patient condition.

Subclassification of Koos grade 4 vestibular schwannoma: insights into tumor morphology for predicting postoperative facial nerve function

J Neurosurg 140:127–137, 2024

OBJECTIVE Koos grade 4 vestibular schwannoma (KG4VS) is a large tumor that causes brainstem displacement and is generally considered a candidate for surgery. Few studies have examined the relationship between morphological differences in KG4VS other than tumor size and postoperative facial nerve function. The authors have developed a landmark-based subclassification of KG4VS that provides insights into the morphology of this tumor and can predict the risk of facial nerve injury during microsurgery. The aims of this study were to morphologically verify the validity of this subclassification and to clarify the relationship of the position of the center of the vestibular schwannoma within the cerebellopontine angle (CPA) cistern on preoperative MR images to postoperative facial nerve function in patients who underwent microsurgical resection of a vestibular schwannoma.

METHODS In this paper, the authors classified KG4VSs into two subtypes according to the position of the center of the KG4VS within the CPA cistern relative to the perpendicular bisector of the porus acusticus internus, which was the landmark for the subclassification. KG4VSs with ventral centers to the landmark were classified as type 4V, and those with dorsal centers as type 4D. The clinical impact of this subclassification on short- and long-term postoperative facial nerve function was analyzed.

RESULTS In this study, the authors retrospectively reviewed patients with vestibular schwannoma who were treated surgically via a retrosigmoid approach between January 2010 and March 2020. Of the 107 patients with KG4VS who met the inclusion criteria, 45 (42.1%) were classified as having type 4V (KG4VSs with centers ventral to the perpendicular bisector of the porous acusticus internus) and 62 (57.9%) as having type 4D (those with centers dorsal to the perpendicular bisector). Ventral extension to the perpendicular bisector of the porus acusticus internus was significantly greater in the type 4V group than in the type 4D group (p < 0.001), although there was no significant difference in the maximal ventrodorsal diameter. The rate of preservation of favorable facial nerve function (House-Brackmann grades I and II) was significantly lower in the type 4V group than in the type 4D group in terms of both short-term (46.7% vs 85.5%, p < 0.001) and long-term (82.9% vs 96.7%, p = 0.001) outcomes. Type 4V had a significantly negative impact on short-term (OR 7.67, 95% CI 2.90–20.3; p < 0.001) and long-term (OR 6.05, 95% CI 1.04–35.0; p = 0.045) facial nerve function after surgery when age, tumor size, and presence of a fundal fluid cap were taken into account.

CONCLUSIONS The authors have delineated two different morphological subtypes of KG4VS. This subclassification could predict short- and long-term facial nerve function after microsurgical resection of KG4VS via the retrosigmoid approach. The risk of postoperative facial palsy when attempting total resection is greater for type 4V than for type 4D. This classification into types 4V and 4D could help to predict the risk of facial nerve injury and generate more individualized surgical strategies for KG4VSs with better facial nerve outcomes.

 

Association Between Pseudoprogression of Vestibular Schwannoma After Radiosurgery and Radiological Features of Solid and Cystic Components

Neurosurgery 93:1383–1392, 2023

The pathophysiology of vestibular schwannoma (VS) pseudoprogression after Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) remains unclear. Radiological features in pretreatment magnetic resonance images may help predict VS pseudoprogression. This study used VS radiological features quantified using an automated segmentation algorithm to predict pseudoprogression after GKRS treatment.

METHODS: This is a retrospective study comprising 330 patients with VS who received GKRS. After image preprocessing and T2W/contrast-enhanced T1-weighted image (CET1W) image generation, with fuzzy C-means clustering, VSs were segmented into solid and cystic components and classified as solid and cystic. Relevant radiological features were then extracted. The response to GKRS was classified into “nonpseudoprogression” and “pseudoprogression/fluctuation”. The Z test for two proportions was used to compare solid and cystic VS for the likelihood of pseudoprogression/fluctuation. Logistic regression was used to assess the correlation between clinical variables and radiological features and response to GKRS.

RESULTS: The likelihood of pseudoprogression/fluctuation after GKRS was significantly higher for solid VS compared with cystic VS (55% vs 31%, P < .001). For the entire VS cohort, multivariable logistic regression revealed that a lower mean tumor signal intensity (SI) in T2W/CET1W images was associated with pseudoprogression/fluctuation after GKRS (P = .001). For the solid VS subgroup, a lower mean tumor SI in T2W/CET1W images (P = .035) was associated with pseudoprogression/fluctuation after GKRS. For the cystic VS subgroup, a lower mean SI of the cystic component in T2W/ CET1W images (P = .040) was associated with pseudoprogression/fluctuation after GKRS.

CONCLUSION: Pseudoprogression is more likely to occur in solid VS compared with cystic VS. Quantitative radiological features in pretreatment magnetic resonance images were associated with pseudoprogression after GKRS. In T2W/ CET1W images, solid VS with a lower mean tumor SI and cystic VS with a lower mean SI of cystic component were more likely to have pseudoprogression after GKRS. These radiological features can help predict the likelihood of pseudoprogression after GKRS.

Vestibular Schwannoma Stereotactic Radiosurgery in Octogenarians

Neurosurgery 93:1099–1105, 2023

The management of octogenarians with vestibular schwannomas (VS) has received little attention. However, with the increase in octogenarian population, more effort is needed to clarify the value of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in this population. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of SRS in this patient age group.

METHODS: A retrospective study of 62 patients aged 80 years or older who underwent single-session SRS for symptomatic VS during a 35-year interval was performed. The median patient age was 82 years, and 61.3% were male. SRS was performed as planned adjuvant management or for delayed progression after prior partial resection in 5 patients.

RESULTS: SRS resulted in a 5-year tumor control rate of 95.6% with a 4.8% risk of adverse radiation effects (ARE). Tumor control was unrelated to patient age, tumor volume, Koos grade, sex, SRS margin dose, or prior surgical management. Four patients underwent additional management including 1 patient with symptomatic progression requiring surgical resection, 2 patients with symptomatic hydrocephalus requiring cerebrospinal fluid diversion, and 1 patient whose tumor-related cyst required delayed cyst aspiration. Three patients developed ARE, including 1 patient with permanent facial weakness (House-Brackmann grade II), 1 who developed trigeminal neuropathy, and 1 who had worsening gait disorder. Six patients had serviceable hearing preservation before SRS, and 2 maintained serviceable hearing preservation after 4 years. A total of 44 (71%) patients died at an interval ranging from 6 to 244 months after SRS.

CONCLUSION: SRS resulted in tumor and symptom control in most octogenarian patients with VS.

A proposed classification system for presigmoid approaches: a scoping review

J Neurosurg 139:965–971, 2023

The “presigmoid corridor” covers a spectrum of approaches using the petrous temporal bone either as a target in treating intracanalicular lesions or as a route to access the internal auditory canal (IAC), jugular foramen, or brainstem. Complex presigmoid approaches have been continuously developed and refined over the years, leading to great heterogeneity in their definitions and descriptions. Owing to the common use of the presigmoid corridor in lateral skull base surgery, a simple anatomy-based and self-explanatory classification is needed to delineate the operative perspective of the different variants of the presigmoid route. Herein, the authors conducted a scoping review of the literature with the aim of proposing a classification system for presigmoid approaches.

METHODS The PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were searched from inception to December 9, 2022, following the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines to include clinical studies reporting the use of “stand-alone” presigmoid approaches. Findings were summarized based on the anatomical corridor, trajectory, and target lesions to classify the different variants of the presigmoid approach.

RESULTS Ninety-nine clinical studies were included for analysis, and the most common target lesions were vestibular schwannomas (60/99, 60.6%) and petroclival meningiomas (12/99, 12.1%). All approaches had a common entry pathway (i.e., mastoidectomy) but were differentiated into two main categories based on their relationship to the labyrinth: translabyrinthine or anterior corridor (80/99, 80.8%) and retrolabyrinthine or posterior corridor (20/99, 20.2%). The anterior corridor comprised 5 variations based on the extent of bone resection: 1) partial translabyrinthine (5/99, 5.1%), 2) transcrusal (2/99, 2.0%), 3) translabyrinthine proper (61/99, 61.6%), 4) transotic (5/99, 5.1%), and 5) transcochlear (17/99, 17.2%). The posterior corridor consisted of 4 variations based on the target area and trajectory in relation to the IAC: 6) retrolabyrinthine inframeatal (6/99, 6.1%), 7) retrolabyrinthine transmeatal (19/99, 19.2%), 8) retrolabyrinthine suprameatal (1/99, 1.0%), and 9) retrolabyrinthine trans-Trautman’s triangle (2/99, 2.0%).

CONCLUSIONS Presigmoid approaches are becoming increasingly complex with the expansion of minimally invasive techniques. Descriptions of these approaches using the existing nomenclature can be imprecise or confusing. Therefore, the authors propose a comprehensive classification based on the operative anatomy that unequivocally describes presigmoid approaches simply, precisely, and efficiently.

Microsurgical anatomy and pathoanatomy of the outer arachnoid membranes in the cerebellopontine angle

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1791–1805

The cerebellopontine angle (CPA) is a frequent region of skull base pathologies and therefore a target for neurosurgical operations. The outer arachnoid is the key structure to approach the here located lesions. The goal of our study was to describe the microsurgical anatomy of the outer arachnoid of the CPA and its pathoanatomy in case of space-occupying lesions.

Methods Our examinations were performed on 35 fresh human cadaveric specimens. Macroscopic dissections and microsurgical and endoscopic examinations were performed. Retrospective analysis of the video documentations of 35 CPA operations was performed to describe the pathoanatomical behavior of the outer arachnoid.

Results The outer arachnoid cover is loosely attached to the inner surface of the dura of the CPA. At the petrosal surface of the cerebellum the pia mater is strongly adhered to the outer arachnoid. At the level of the dural penetration of the cranial nerves, the outer arachnoid forms sheath-like structures around the nerves. In the midline, the outer arachnoid became detached from the pial surface and forms the base of the posterior fossa cisterns. In pathological cases, the outer arachnoid became displaced. The way of displacement depends on the origin of the lesion. The most characteristic patterns of changes of the outer arachnoid were described in case of meningiomas, vestibular schwannomas, and epidermoid cysts of the CPA.

Conclusion The knowledge of the anatomy of the outer arachnoid of the cerebellopontine region is essential to safely perform microsurgical approaches as well as of dissections during resection of pathological lesions.

The longitudinal volumetric response of vestibular schwannomas after Gamma Knife radiosurgery

J Neurosurg 138:1273–1280, 2023

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is an effective treatment for vestibular schwannomas (VSs) and has been used in > 100,000 cases worldwide. In the present study the authors sought to define the serial volumetric tumor response of Koos grade I–IV VS after radiosurgery.

METHODS A total of 201 consecutive VS patients underwent GKRS at a single institution between 2015 and 2019. All patients had a minimum follow-up of 18 months and at least 2 interval postprocedure MRI scans. The contrast-enhanced tumor volumes were contoured manually and compared between pre- and post-GKRS imaging. The percentages of tumor volume change at 18 months (short-term follow-up) and up to 5 years after GKRS (long-term follow-up) were compared with the baseline tumor volume. An increase of 20% was considered a significant increase of tumor volume. Trends of tumor volume over time were assessed with linear models using time as a continuous variable. A test for linear trend was evaluated according to the initial Koos tumor classification.

RESULTS Koos grade II VS was the most frequently occurring tumor (n = 74, 36.8%), followed by grade III (n = 57, 28.4%), grade I (n = 41, 20.4%), and grade IV (n = 29, 14.4%). The mean tumor volume at the time of GKRS was 2.12 ±2.82 cm 3 (range 0.12–18.77 cm 3 ) and the median margin dose was 12 Gy. Short-term follow-up revealed that tumor volumes transiently increased in 34.2% and 28.4% of patients at 6 and 18 months, respectively, regardless of Koos grade. Linear regression analysis of Koos grade II, III, and IV tumors showed a significant longitudinal volume decrease on long-term follow-up. At last follow-up (median 30 months, range 18–54 months), 19 patients (9.4%) showed a persistent increase of tumor volume. Five patients received additional management after GKRS.

CONCLUSIONS Although selected VS patients demonstrate an early and measurable transient volumetric increase after GKRS, > 90% have stable or reduced tumor volumes over an observed period of up to 5 years. Volumetric regression is most pronounced in Koos grade II, III, and IV tumors and may not be fully detectable until 3 years after GKRS.

Presence of a fundal fluid cap on preoperative magnetic resonance imaging may predict long-term facial nerve function after resection of vestibular schwannoma via the retrosigmoid approach

J Neurosurg 138:972–980, 2023

Preservation of neurological function is a priority when performing a resection of a vestibular schwannoma (VS). Few studies have examined the radiographic value of a fundal fluid cap—i.e., cerebrospinal fluid in the lateral end of a VS within the internal auditory canal—for prediction of postoperative neurological function. The aim of this study was to clarify whether the presence of a fundal fluid cap on preoperative magnetic resonance images has a clinical impact on facial nerve function after resection of VSs.

METHODS The presence of a fundal fluid cap and its prognostic impact on long-term postoperative facial nerve function were analyzed.

RESULTS A fundal fluid cap was present in 102 of 143 patients who underwent resection of sporadic VSs via the retrosigmoid approach. Facial nerve function was acceptable (House-Brackmann grade I–II) immediately after surgery in 82 (80.4%) patients with a fundal fluid cap and in 26 (63.4%) of those without this sign. The preservation rate of facial nerve function increased in a time-dependent manner after surgery in patients with a fundal fluid cap but plateaued by 3 months postoperatively in those without a fundal fluid cap; the difference was statistically significant at 12 months (96.1% vs 82.9%, p = 0.013) and 24 months (97.1% vs 82.9%, p = 0.006) after surgery. The presence of a fundal fluid cap had a significantly positive effect on long-term facial nerve function at 24 months after surgery when tumor size and intraoperative neuromonitoring response were taken into account (OR 5.55, 95% CI 1.12–27.5, p = 0.034).

CONCLUSIONS Neuromonitoring-guided microsurgery for total resection of VSs is more likely to be successful in terms of preservation of facial nerve function if a fundal fluid cap is present. This preoperative radiographic sign could be helpful when counseling patients and deciding the treatment strategy.

Stereotactic radiosurgery for Koos grade IV vestibular schwannoma in patients ≥ 65 years old

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:211–220

Surgery is the preferred treatment for large vestibular schwannomas (VS). Good tumor control and cranial nerve outcomes were described in selected Koos IV VS after single-session stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), but outcomes in elderly patients have never been specifically studied. The aim of this study is to report clinical and radiological outcomes after single-session SRS for Koos IV VS in patients ≥ 65 years old.

Method This multicenter, retrospective study included patients ≥ 65 years old, treated with primary, single-session SRS for a Koos IV VS, and at least 12 months of follow-up. Patients with life-threatening or incapacitating symptoms were excluded. Tumor control rate, hearing, trigeminal, and facial nerve function were studied at last follow-up.

Results One-hundred and fifty patients (median age of 71.0 (IQR 9.0) years old with a median tumor volume of 8.3 cc (IQR 4.4)) were included. The median prescription dose was 12.0 Gy (IQR 1.4). The local tumor control rate was 96.0% and 86.2% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Early tumor expansion occurred in 6.7% and was symptomatic in 40% of cases. A serviceable hearing was present in 16.1% prior to SRS and in 7.4% at a last follow-up of 46.5 months (IQR 55.8). The actuarial serviceable hearing preservation rate was 69.3% and 50.9% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Facial nerve function preservation or improvement rates at 5 and 10 years were 98.7% and 91.0%, respectively. At last follow-up, the trigeminal nerve function was improved in 14.0%, stable in 80.7%, and worsened in 5.3% of the patients. ARE were noted in 12.7%. New hydrocephalus was seen in 8.0% of patients.

Conclusion SRS can be a safe alternative to surgery for selected Koos IV VS in patients ≥ 65 years old. Further follow-up is warranted.

Audiovestibular symptoms and facial nerve function comparing microsurgery versus SRS for vestibular schwannomas

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:3221–3233

Surgery and radiosurgery represent the most common treatment options forcvestibular schwannoma. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to compare the outcomes of surgery versus stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Methods The Cochrane library, PubMed, Embase, and clinicaltrials.gov were searched through 01/2021 to find all studies on surgical and stereotactic procedures performed to treat vestibular schwannoma. Using a random-effects model, pooled odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) comparing post- to pre-intervention were derived for pre-post studies, and pooled incidence of adverse events post-intervention were calculated for case series and stratified by intervention type.

Results Twenty-one studies (18 pre-post design; three case series) with 987 patients were included in the final analysis. Comparing post- to pre-intervention, both surgery (OR: 3.52, 95%CI 2.13, 5.81) and SRS (OR: 3.30, 95%CI 1.39, 7.80) resulted in greater odds of hearing loss, lower odds of dizziness (surgery OR: 0.10; 95%CI 0.02, 0.47 vs. SRS OR: 0.22; 95%CI 0.05, 0.99), and tinnitus (surgery OR: 0.23; 95%CI 0.00, 37.9; two studies vs. SRS OR: 0.11; 95%CI 0.01, 1.07; one study). Pooled incidence of facial symmetry loss was larger post-surgery (14.3%, 95%CI 6.8%, 22.7%) than post-SRS (7%, 95%CI 1%, 36%). Tumor control was larger in the surgery (94%, 95%CI 83%, 98%) than the SRS group (80%, 95%CI 31%, 97%) for small-to-medium size tumors.

Conclusion Both surgery and SRS resulted in similar odds of hearing loss and similar improvements in dizziness and tinnitus among patients with vestibular schwannoma; however, facial symmetry loss appeared higher post-surgery.

Matched Comparison of Hearing Outcomes in Patients With Vestibular Schwannoma Treated With Stereotactic Radiosurgery or Observation

Neurosurgery 91:641–647, 2022

Previous studies comparing hearing outcomes in patients managed with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and a watch-and-wait strategy were limited by small sample sizes that prevented controlling for potential confounders, including initial hearing status, tumor size, and age.

OBJECTIVE: To compare hearing outcomes for patients with vestibular schwannomas (VS) managed with observation and SRS while controlling for confounders with propensity score matching.

METHODS: Propensity score matching was used to compare 198 patients with unilateral VS with initial serviceable hearing (99 treated with SRS and 99 managed with observation alone) and 116 with initial class A hearing (58 managed with SRS and 58 with observation), matched by initial hearing status, tumor volume, age, and sex. Kaplan–Meier survival methods were used to compare risk of losing class A and serviceable hearing.

RESULTS: Between patients with VS managed with SRS or observation alone, there was no significant difference in loss of class A hearing (median time 27.2 months, 95% CI 16.843.4, and 29.2 months, 95% CI 20.4-62.5, P = .88) or serviceable hearing (median time 37.7 months, 95% CI 25.7-58.4, and 48.8 months, 95% CI 38.4-86.3, P = .18). For SRS patients, increasing mean cochlear dose was not related to loss of class A hearing (hazard ratio 1.3, P = .17) but was associated with increasing risk of serviceable hearing loss (hazard ratio of 1.5 per increase in Gy, P = .017).

CONCLUSION: When controlling for potential confounders, there was no significant difference in loss of class A or serviceable hearing between patients managed with SRS or with observation alone.

Stereotactic radiosurgery as the primary management for patients with Koos grade IV vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg 135:1058–1066, 2021

While extensive long-term outcome studies support the role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for smaller volume vestibular schwannomas (VSs), its role in the management for larger-volume tumors remains controversial.

METHODS Between 1987 and 2017, the authors performed single-session SRS on 170 patients with previously untreated Koos grade IV VSs (volumes ranged from 5 to 20 cm3). The median tumor volume was 7.4 cm3. The median maximum extracanalicular tumor diameter was 27.5 mm. All tumors compressed the middle cerebellar peduncle and distorted the fourth ventricle. Ninety-three patients were male, 77 were female, and the median age was 61 years. Sixtytwo patients had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] grades I and II). The median margin dose was 12.5 Gy.

RESULTS At a median follow-up of 5.1 years, the progression-free survival rates of VSs treated with a margin dose ≥ 12.0 Gy were 98.4% at 3 years, 95.3% at 5 years, and 90.7% at 10 years. In contrast, the tumor control rate after delivery of a margin dose < 12.0 Gy was 76.9% at 3, 5, and 10 years. The hearing preservation rates in patients with serviceable hearing at the time of SRS were 58.1% at 3 years, 50.3% at 5 years, and 35.9% at 7 years. Younger age (< 60 years, p = 0.036) and initial GR grade I (p = 0.006) were associated with improved serviceable hearing preservation rate. Seven patients (4%) developed facial neuropathy during the follow-up interval. A smaller tumor volume (< 10 cm3, p = 0.002) and a lower margin dose (≤ 13.0 Gy, p < 0.001) were associated with preservation of facial nerve function. The probability of delayed facial neuropathy when the margin dose was ≤ 13.0 Gy was 1.1% at 10 years. Nine patients (5%) required a ventriculoperitoneal shunt because of delayed symptomatic hydrocephalus. Fifteen patients (9%) developed detectable trigeminal neuropathy. Delayed resection was performed in 4% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS Even for larger-volume VSs, single-session SRS prevented the need for delayed resection in almost 90% at 10 years. For patients with minimal symptoms of tumor mass effect, SRS should be considered an effective alternative to surgery in most patients, especially those with advanced age or medical comorbidities.

Stereotactic radiosurgery as the first-line treatment for intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg 135:1051–1057, 2021

This report evaluates the outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as the first-line treatment of intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas (VSs).

METHODS Between 1987 and 2017, the authors identified 209 patients who underwent SRS as the primary intervention for a unilateral intracanalicular VS. The median patient age was 54 years (range 22–85 years); 94 patients were male and 115 were female. Three patients had facial neuropathy at the time of SRS. One hundred fifty-five patients (74%) had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] grades I and II) at the time of SRS. The median tumor volume was 0.17 cm3 (range 0.015–0.63 cm3). The median margin dose was 12.5 Gy (range 11.0–25.0 Gy). The median maximum dose was 24.0 Gy (range 15.7–50.0 Gy).

RESULTS The progression-free survival rates of all patients with intracanalicular VS were 97.5% at 3 years, 95.6% at 5 years, and 92.1% at 10 years. The rates of freedom from the need for any additional intervention were 99.4% at 3 years, 98.3% at 5 years, and 98.3% at 10 years. The serviceable hearing preservation rates in GR grade I and II patients at the time of SRS were 76.6% at 3 years, 63.5% at 5 years, and 27.3% at 10 years. In univariate analysis, younger age (< 55 years, p = 0.011), better initial hearing (GR grade I, p < 0.001), and smaller tumor volumes (< 0.14 cm3, p = 0.016) were significantly associated with improved hearing preservation. In multivariate analysis, better hearing (GR grade I, p = 0.001, HR 2.869, 95% CI 1.569–5.248) and smaller tumor volumes (< 0.14 cm3, p = 0.033, HR 2.071, 95% CI 1.059–4.047) at the time of SRS were significantly associated with improved hearing preservation. The hearing preservation rates of patients with GR grade I VS were 88.1% at 3 years, 77.9% at 5 years, and 38.1% at 10 years. The hearing preservation rates of patients with VSs smaller than 0.14 cm3 were 85.5% at 3 years, 77.7% at 5 years, and 42.6% at 10 years. Facial neuropathy developed in 1.4% from 6 to 156 months after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS SRS provided sustained tumor control in more than 90% of patients with intracanalicular VS at 10 years and freedom from the need for additional intervention in more than 98% at 10 years. Patients with initially better hearing and smaller VSs had enhanced serviceable hearing preservation during an observation interval up to 10 years after SRS.

Large and small vestibular schwannomas: same, yet different tumors

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2199–2207

Vestibular schwannomas (VS) present at variable size with heterogeneous symptomatology. Modern treatment paradigms for large VS include gross total resection, subtotal resection (STR) in combination with observation, and/or radiation to achieve optimal function preservation, whereas treatment is felt to be both easier and safer for small VS. The objective is to better characterize the presentation and surgical outcomes of large and small VS.

Methods We collected data of patients who had surgically treated VS with a posterior fossa diameter of 4.0 cm or larger (large tumor group, LTG) and smaller than 1.0 cm in cisternal diameter (small tumor group, STG). Statistical significance was defined as p < 0.05.

Results LTG included 48 patients (average tumor size: 44.9 mm) and STG 38 (7.9 mm). Patients in STG presented more frequently with tinnitus and sudden hearing loss. Patients in LTG underwent more STR than STG (50.0% vs. 2.6%, p < 0.0001). LTG had more complications (31.3% vs. 13.2%, p = 0.049). Postoperative facial nerve function in STG was significantly better than LTG. STG had better hearing preoperatively (p < 0.0001) and postoperatively than LTG (p = 0.0002). Postoperative headache was more common in STG (13.2% vs. 2.1%, p = 0.045). The rate of recurrence/progression needing treatment was not statistically different between the groups (12.5% in LTG vs. 7.9% in STG, p = 0.49). Those patients who required periprocedural cerebrospinal fluid diversion had higher risk of infection (20.8% vs 4.8%, p = 0.022).

Conclusion Large and small VS present differently. LTG showed more unsatisfactory outcomes in facial nerve function and postoperative hearing despite maximal efforts undertaken toward function-preservation strategy; however, similar tumor control was achieved.

Stereotactic radiosurgery as the first-line treatment for intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg February 5, 2021: 1-7

This report evaluates the outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as the first-line treatment of intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas (VSs).

METHODS Between 1987 and 2017, the authors identified 209 patients who underwent SRS as the primary intervention for a unilateral intracanalicular VS. The median patient age was 54 years (range 22–85 years); 94 patients were male and 115 were female. Three patients had facial neuropathy at the time of SRS. One hundred fifty-five patients (74%) had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] grades I and II) at the time of SRS. The median tumor volume was 0.17 cm3 (range 0.015–0.63 cm3). The median margin dose was 12.5 Gy (range 11.0–25.0 Gy). The median maximum dose was 24.0 Gy (range 15.7–50.0 Gy).

RESULTS The progression-free survival rates of all patients with intracanalicular VS were 97.5% at 3 years, 95.6% at 5 years, and 92.1% at 10 years. The rates of freedom from the need for any additional intervention were 99.4% at 3 years, 98.3% at 5 years, and 98.3% at 10 years. The serviceable hearing preservation rates in GR grade I and II patients at the time of SRS were 76.6% at 3 years, 63.5% at 5 years, and 27.3% at 10 years. In univariate analysis, younger age (< 55 years, p = 0.011), better initial hearing (GR grade I, p < 0.001), and smaller tumor volumes (< 0.14 cm3, p = 0.016) were significantly associated with improved hearing preservation. In multivariate analysis, better hearing (GR grade I, p = 0.001, HR 2.869, 95% CI 1.569–5.248) and smaller tumor volumes (< 0.14 cm3, p = 0.033, HR 2.071, 95% CI 1.059–4.047) at the time of SRS were significantly associated with improved hearing preservation. The hearing preservation rates of patients with GR grade I VS were 88.1% at 3 years, 77.9% at 5 years, and 38.1% at 10 years. The hearing preservation rates of patients with VSs smaller than 0.14 cm3 were 85.5% at 3 years, 77.7% at 5 years, and 42.6% at 10 years. Facial neuropathy developed in 1.4% from 6 to 156 months after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS SRS provided sustained tumor control in more than 90% of patients with intracanalicular VS at 10 years and freedom from the need for additional intervention in more than 98% at 10 years. Patients with initially better hearing and smaller VSs had enhanced serviceable hearing preservation during an observation interval up to 10 years after SRS.

A critical comparison between the semisitting and the supine positioning in vestibular schwannoma surgery: subgroup analysis of a randomized, multicenter trial

J Neurosurg 133:249–256, 2020

Patient positioning in vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery is a matter of ongoing discussion. Factors to consider include preservation of cranial nerve functions, extent of tumor resection, and complications. The objective of this study was to determine the optimal patient positioning in VS surgery.

METHODS A subgroup analysis of a randomized, multicenter trial that investigated the efficacy of prophylactic nimodipine in VS surgery was performed to investigate the impact of positioning (semisitting or supine) on extent of resection, functional outcomes, and complications. The data of 97 patients were collected prospectively. All procedures were performed via a retrosigmoid approach. The semisitting position was chosen in 56 patients, whereas 41 patients were treated while supine.

RESULTS Complete resection was obtained at a higher percentage in the semisitting as compared to the supine position (93% vs 73%, p = 0.002). Logistic regression analysis revealed significantly better facial nerve function in the early postoperative course in the semisitting group (p = 0.004), particularly concerning severe facial nerve paresis (House- Brackmann grade IV or worse; p = 0.002). One year after surgery, facial nerve function recovered. However, there was still a tendency for better facial nerve function in the semisitting group (p = 0.091). There were no significant differences between groups regarding hearing preservation rates. Venous air embolism with the necessity to terminate surgery occurred in 2 patients in the semisitting position (3.6%). Supplementary analysis with a 2-tailed permutation randomization with 10,000 permutations of treatment choice and a propensity score matching showed either a tendency or significant results for better facial nerve outcomes in the early postoperative course and extent of resection in the semisitting group.

CONCLUSIONS Although the results of the various statistical analyses are not uniform, the data indicate better results concerning both a higher rate of complete removal (according to the intraoperative impression of the surgeon) and facial nerve function after a semisitting as compared to the supine position. These advantages may justify the potential higher risk for severe complications of the semisitting position in VS surgery. The choice of positioning has to consider all individual patient parameters and risks carefully.

Postoperative Hearing Preservation in Patients Undergoing Retrosigmoid Craniotomy for Resection of Vestibular Schwannomas: A Systematic Review of 2034 Patients

Neurosurgery 2019 DOI:10.1093/neuros/nyz147

Vestibular schwannomas (VS) are benign tumors derived from Schwann cells ensheathing the vestibulocochlear nerve. The retrosigmoid (RS) surgical approach is useful to resect tumors of multiple sizes while affording the possibility of preserving postoperative hearing.

OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review of published literature investigating hearing preservation rates in patients who underwent the RS approach for VS treatment.

METHODS: The PubMed, Scopus, and Embase databases were surveyed for studies that reported preoperative and postoperative hearing grades on VS patients who underwent RS treatment. Hearing preservation rates were calculated, and additional patient demographic data were extracted. Tumor size data were stratified to compare hearing preservation rates after surgery for intracanalicular, small (0-20 mm), and large (>20 mm) tumors.

RESULTS: Of 383 deduplicated articles, 26 studies (6.8%) met eligibility criteria for a total of 2034 patients with serviceable preoperative hearing, for whom postoperative hearing status was evaluated. Aggregate hearing preservation was 31% and 35% under a fixed and random effects model, respectively. A mixed effects model was used to determine hearing preservation rates depending on tumor size, which were determined to be 57%, 37%, and 12% for intracanalicular, small, and large tumors, respectively. Significant crossstudy heterogeneity was found (I2 = 93%, τ 2 = .964, P < .01; Q = 287.80, P = < .001), with rates of hearing preservation ranging from 0% to 100%.

CONCLUSION: Tumor size may have an effect on hearing preservation rates, but multiple factors should be considered. Discussion of a patient’s expectations for hearing preservation is critical when deciding on VS treatment plans.

Is There a Need for a 6-Month Postradiosurgery Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the Treatment of Vestibular Schwannoma?

Neurosurgery, Volume 86, Issue 2, February 2020, Pages 250–256

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a common treatment modality for vestibular schwannoma (VS), with a role in primary and recurrent/progressive algorithms. At our institution, routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is obtained at 6 and 12 mo following SRS for VS.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the safety and financial impact of eliminating the 6-mo post-SRS MRI in asymptomatic VS patients. METHODS: A prospectively maintained SRS database was retrospectively reviewed for VS patients with 1 yr of post-treatment follow-up, 2005 to 2015. Decisions at 6-mo MRI were binarily categorized as routine follow-up vs clinical action—defined as a clinical visit, additional imaging, or an operation as a direct result of the 6-mo study.

RESULTS: A total of 296 patients met screening criteria, of whom 53 were excluded for incomplete follow-up and 8 for NF-2. Nine were reimaged prior to 6 mo due to clinical symptoms. Routine 6-mo post-SRS MRI was completed by 226 patients (76% of screened cohort), following from which zero instances of clinical action occurred.When scaled using national insurance database-derived financials—which estimated the mean per-study charge for MRI of the brain with and without contrast at $1767—the potential annualized national charge reduction was approximated as $1 611 504.

CONCLUSION: For clinically stable VS, 6-mo post-SRS MRI does not contribute significantly to management. We recommend omitting routine MRI before 12 mo, in patients without new or progressive neurological symptoms. If extrapolated nationally to the more than 100 active SRS centers, thousands of patients would be spared an inconvenient, nonindicated study, and national savings in health care dollarswouldbe on the order ofmillions annually.

Face-to-face four hand technique in vestibular schwannoma surgery: results from 256 Danish patients with larger tumors

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:61–69

The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical outcome after microsurgical treatment of vestibular schwannomas using face-to-face four hand technique in 256 Danish patients treated in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Copenhagen University Hospital from 2009 to 2018.

Methods Data were retrospectively collected from patient records.

Results The mean tumor size was 30.6 mm and approximately 46% of the patients had tumors >30 mm. In around 1/3 of the patients a retrosigmoid approach was used and in 2/3 a translabyrinthine. In 50% of the patients, the tumor was completely removed, and in 38%, only smaller remnants were left to preserve facial function. The median operative time was approximately 2.5 h for retrosigmoid approach, and for translabyrinthine approach, it was around 3.5 h. One year after surgery, 84% of the patients had a good facial nerve function (House-Brackmann grade 1–2). In tumors ≤ 30 mm approximately 89%preserved good facial function, whereas this was only the case for around 78% of the patients with tumors > 30 mm. In 60% of the patients who had poor facial nerve function at hospital discharge, the function improved to good facial function within the 1 year follow-up period. Four patients died within 30 days after surgery, and 6% underwent reoperation for cerebrospinal fluid leakage.

Conclusion Surgery for vestibular schwannomas using face-to-face four hand technique may reduce operative time and can be performed with lower risk and excellent facial nerve outcome. The risk of surgery increases with increasing tumor size.

Treatment Outcomes and Dose Rate Effects Following Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Vestibular Schwannomas

Neurosurgery 85:E1084–E1094, 2019

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS; Elekta AB) remains a well-established treatment modality for vestibular schwannomas. Despite highly effective tumor control, further research is needed toward optimizing long-term functional outcomes. Whereas dose-rate effects may impact post-treatment toxicities given tissue dose-response relationships, potential effects remain largely unexplored.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate treatment outcomes and potential dose-rate effects following definitive GKRS for vestibular schwannomas.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 419 patients treated at our institution between 1998 and 2015, characterizing baseline demographics, pretreatment symptoms, and GKRS parameters. The cohort was divided into 2 dose-rate groups based on the median value (2.675 Gy/min). Outcomes included clinical tumor control, radiographic progression-free survival, serviceable hearing preservation, hearing loss, and facial nerve dysfunction (FND). Prognostic factors were assessed using Cox regression.

RESULTS: The study cohort included 227 patientswith available follow-up. Following GKRS 2-yr and 4-yr clinical tumor control rates were 98% (95% CI: 95.6%-100%) and 96% (95% CI: 91.4%-99.6%), respectively. Among 177 patients with available radiographic follow-up, 2-yr and 4-yr radiographic progression-free survival rateswere 97% (95% CI: 94.0%-100.0%) and 88% (95% CI: 81.2%-95.0%). The serviceable hearing preservation rate was 72.2% among patients with baseline Gardner-Robertson class I/II hearing and post-treatment audiological evaluations. Most patients experienced effective relief from prior headaches (94.7%), tinnitus (83.7%), balance issues (62.7%), FND (90.0%), and trigeminal nerve dysfunction (79.2%), but not hearing loss (1.0%). Whereas GKRS provided effective tumor control independently of dose rate, GKRS patients exposed to lower dose rates experienced significantly better freedom from post-treatment hearing loss and FND (P = .044).

CONCLUSION:Whereas GKRS provides excellent tumor control and effective symptomatic relief for vestibular schwannomas, dose-rate effectsmay impact post-treatment functional outcomes. Further research remains warranted.