An increasing number of patients with vestibular schwannomas (VSs) are being treated with radiosurgery. Treatment failure or secondary regrowth after radiosurgery, however, has been observed in 2%–9% of patients. In large tumors that compress the brainstem and in patients who experience rapid neurological deterioration, surgical removal is the only reasonable management option.
The authors evaluated the relevance of previous radiosurgery for the outcome of surgery in a series of 28 patients with VS. The cohort was further subdivided into Group A (radiosurgery prior to surgery) and Group B (partial tumor removal followed by radiosurgery prior to current surgery). The functional and general outcomes in these 2 groups were compared with those in a control group (no previous treatment, matched characteristics).
There were 15 patients in Group A, 13 in Group B, and 30 in the control group. The indications for surgery were sustained tumor enlargement and progression of neurological symptoms in 12 patients, sustained tumor enlargement in 15 patients, and worsening of neurological symptoms without evidence of tumor growth in 1 patient. Total tumor removal was achieved in all patients in Groups A and B and in 96.7% of those in the control group. There were no deaths in any group. Although no significant differences in the neurological morbidity or complication rates after surgery were noted, the risk of new cranial nerve deficits and CSF leakage was highest in patients in Group B. Patients who underwent previous radiosurgical treatment (Groups A and B) tended to be at higher risk of developing postoperative hematomas in the tumor bed or cerebellum. The rate of facial nerve anatomical preservation was highest in those patients who were not treated previously (93.3%) and decreased to 86.7% in the patients in Group A and to 61.5% in those in Group B. Facial nerve function at follow-up was found to correlate to the previous treatment; excellent or good function was seen in 87% of the patients from the control group, 78% of those in Group A, and 68% of those in Group B.
Complete microsurgical removal of VSs after failed radiosurgery is possible with an acceptable morbidity rate. The functional outcome, however, tends to be worse than in nontreated patients. Surgery after previous partial tumor removal and radiosurgery is most challenging and related to worse outcome.
Source: Journal of Neurosurgery