Histological considerations of the cleavage plane for preservation of facial and cochlear nerve functions in vestibular schwannoma surgery.
ABSTRACT The authors analyzed the tumor capsule and the tumor-nerve interface in vestibular schwannomas (VSs) to define the ideal cleavage plane for maximal tumor removal with preservation of facial and cochlear nerve functions.
Surgical specimens from 21 unilateral VSs were studied using classical H & E, Masson trichrome, and immunohistochemical staining against myelin basic protein.
The authors observed a continuous thin connective tissue layer enveloping the surfaces of the tumors. Some nerve fibers, which were immunopositive to myelin basic protein and considered to be remnants of vestibular nerve fibers, were also identified widely beneath the connective tissue layer. These findings indicated that the socalled "tumor capsule" in VSs is the residual vestibular nerve tissue itself, consisting of the perineurium and underlying nerve fibers. There was no structure bordering the tumor parenchyma and the vestibular nerve fibers. In specimens of tumors removed en bloc with the cochlear nerves, the authors found that the connective tissue layer, corresponding to the perineurium of the cochlear nerve, clearly bordered the nerve fibers and tumor tissue.
Based on these histological observations, complete tumor resection can be achieved by removal of both tumor parenchyma and tumor capsule when a clear border between the tumor capsule and facial or cochlear nerve fibers can be identified intraoperatively. Conversely, when a severe adhesion between the tumor and facial or cochlear nerve fibers is observed, dissection of the vestibular nerve-tumor interface (the subcapsular or subperineurial dissection) is recommended for preservation of the functions of these cranial nerves.
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ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate and present the results of current surgical treatment of vestibular schwannomas (VSs) and to report the refinements in the operative technique. The authors performed a retrospective study of 200 consecutive patients who had undergone VS surgery over a 3-year period. Patient records, operative reports, follow-up data, and neuroradiological findings were analyzed. The main outcome measures were magnetic resonance imaging, neurological status, patient complaints, and surgical complications. Complete tumor removal was achieved in 98% of patients. Anatomical preservation of the facial nerve was possible in 98.5% of patients. In patients treated for tumors with extension Classes T1, T2, and T3, the rate of facial nerve preservation was 100%. By the last follow-up examination, excellent or good facial nerve function had been achieved in 81% of the cases. By at least 1 year postsurgery, no patients had total facial palsy. In the patients with preserved hearing, the rate of anatomical preservation of the cochlear nerve was 84%. The overall rate of functional hearing preservation was 51%. There was no surgery-related permanent morbidity in this series of patients. Cerebrospinal fluid leakage was diagnosed in 2% of the patients. The mortality rate was 0%. The goal of VS treatment should be total removal in one stage and preservation of neurological function, as they determine a patient's quality of life. This goal can be safely and successfully achieved using the retrosigmoid approach.Journal of Neurosurgery 11/2006; 105(4):527-35. · 3.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The realistic chances of hearing preservation and the comparability of international results on hearing preservation in complete microsurgical vestibular schwannoma resections were the focus of this study in a large patient population treated by uniform principles. One thousand vestibular schwannomas were operated on at Nordstadt Neurosurgical Department, from 1978 to 1993, by the senior surgeon (MS). There were 1000 tumors in 962 patients, i.e., 880 patients with unilateral tumors and 82 patients operated on for bilateral tumors in neurofibromatosis-2 (120 cases). Preservation of the cochlear nerve was attempted whenever possible. The audiometric data were analyzed by the Nordstadt classification system and graded in steps of 30 dB by audiometry and in steps of 10 to 30% by speech discrimination; for comparability, the data were also evaluated by the criteria of Gardner, Shelton, and House, and they were assessed in relation to the Hannover tumor extension grading system. Anatomic cochlear nerve preservation was achieved in 682 of 1000 cases (68%), as well as in some preoperatively deaf patients, a very few of whom regained some hearing. Of a total of 732 cases with some preoperative hearing, anatomic cochlear nerve preservation was achieved in 580 cases (79%) and functional cochlear nerve preservation in 289 (39.5%); analysis over time revealed an actual preservation rate of 47% in the most recent 200 cases. Specific factors, such as gender, tumor extension, preoperative hearing quality, and symptom duration, were investigated for their predictive value for hearing preservation. Male gender, small to medium tumor size (mainly extending within the cerebellopontine cistern; Classes T2 and T3), good to moderate hearing (up to 40-dB loss), and short duration of hypoacusis (< 1.5 yr) or of vestibular disturbances (< 0.7 yr) were advantageous factors, with chances of hearing preservation between 47 and 88%. Functional cochlear nerve preservation in complete microsurgical resection should belong to the contemporary standard of treatment goals.Neurosurgery 02/1997; 40(2):248-60; discussion 260-2. · 2.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In articles and chapters on the subject of acoustic neuroma, it is almost invariably stated that they are well-encapsulated tumors. During surgical procedures, blunt mechanical dissection defines a natural subsurface cleavage plane that leaves intact a several millimeter thick rind of tumor surface. Occasionally, as a concession to neural integrity, less than complete resection is elected, leaving behind this "capsular" remnant. To clarify the nature of the surface of acoustic neuromas and to test whether this long held description is indeed correct, a microscopic analysis of 10 surgical specimens was performed. A wedge was harvested from the free surface of the tumor in the mid cerebellopontine angle that included a large, undisturbed section of the tumor surface. Histologic analysis showed that for most of the tumor surface only an extremely thin (3 to 5 microm) layer of connective tissue envelops the tumor. Neoplastic Schwann cells, which extend essentially to the margin of the tumor, were found to be somewhat flattened and compressed in the vicinity of the surface. Although acoustic neuromas are surrounded by a continuous layer of connective tissue, it is so exceptionally thin (on average less than the diameter of a red blood cell) that its edge cannot be visualized intraoperatively by a surgeon. Because the pathologic definition of a capsule is a thick, enveloping layer of connective tissue that is both micro- and macroscopically evident, it must be concluded that acoustic neuromas are nonencapsulated, at least in the conventional sense of the term. The surface peel observed intraoperatively is surgically produced during tumor debulking by cleaving of the looser central component from the more compressed portion of neoplastic cells that lies immediately beneath the free margin of the lesion.Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery 01/1998; 117(6):606-9. · 1.73 Impact Factor