Histological considerations of the cleavage plane for preservation of facial and cochlear nerve functions in vestibular schwannoma surgery: Clinical article

Department of Neurosurgery, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.
Journal of Neurosurgery (Impact Factor: 3.74). 10/2008; 110(4):648-55. DOI: 10.3171/2008.4.17514
Source: PubMed


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: To evaluate the possible prognostic factors for hearing preservation, the authors retrospectively reviewed the results of 30 consecutive acoustic neuroma operations in which hearing preservation was attempted, in a total series of 63 acoustic neuromas. Intracanalicular tumors or those that extended less than 3 mm outside the porus acusticus (10 cases) were resected via the middle fossa approach. The retrosigmoid approach was used for tumors exceeding the limits for the middle fossa approach (20 cases). Overall, hearing was preserved (pure tone average < or = 50 dB and speech discrimination score > or = 50%) in 21 patients (70%). There were 11 patients with severe adhesion between the cochlear nerve and tumor capsule, and 19 without. Hearing was preserved postoperatively in only two (18.2%) of 11 patients with severe adhesion, whereas all 19 without severe adhesion had hearing preservation. The presence or absence of severe adhesion in the interface between the cochlear nerve and the tumor might be the most significant prognostic factor for hearing preservation postsurgery.
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    ABSTRACT: Preservation of hearing has become a standard goal in selected patients undergoing surgery for a vestibular schwannoma (VS). This study was aimed at analyzing the role played by filling of the internal auditory canal (IAC) as well as those played by preoperative hearing quality, and tumor size in the postoperative preservation of serviceable hearing (SH). Three hundred eighty-six patients with VS were treated. Hearing preservation was attempted in 128 cases (33.2%) by using intraoperative monitoring and following a retrosigmoid approach. The maximal extrameatal size of the tumor, its extension within the IAC, and pre- and postoperative hearing quality, according to the Gardner-Robertson classification, were evaluated. Preservation of SH was achieved in 24.2% of the 128 patients. With respect to tumor size, SH was preserved in 39% of 77 patients harboring a tumor 15 mm wide or smaller and in 2% of 51 patients with lesions 16 mm wide or larger (p < 0.001). With regard to filling of the IAC, among 63 patients harboring a tumor 15 mm or smaller, in whom magnetic resonance images were available, SH was preserved in 52.8% of 36 patients with partial filling and in 25.9% of 27 patients with complete filling (p = 0.032). Concerning preoperative hearing quality, in the patients with tumors 15 mm or smaller, SH was preserved in 46.5% of 43 patients with Gardner-Robertson Class I hearing and 29.4% of 34 patients with Class II hearing (p = 0.126). Both tumor size and the extent of IAC filling proved statistically significant in a multivariable analysis (p < 0.001 and p = 0.026, respectively). Incomplete filling of the IAC and a tumor size of 15 mm or smaller are independent favorable factors in SH preservation. Excellent preoperative hearing appears to have a positive impact but does not have statistical significance. Intraoperative monitoring is useful in guiding the dissection; however, the surgeon's knowledge of topographical landmarks and meticulous surgical technique remain the essential factors of success.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2005 · Journal of Neurosurgery
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    ABSTRACT: Hearing preservation remains a challenging problem in vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery. The ability to preserve hearing in patients with large tumors is subject to particular difficulty. In this study, the authors focus on hearing preservation in patients harboring large VSs. A total of 344 consecutive patients underwent surgical removal of VSs over the past 9 years. Of these 344 cases, 195 VSs were > 20 mm in maximum cisternal diameter. Of the 195 cases, hearing preservation surgery was attempted for 54 patients who had a Class A, B, C, or D preoperative hearing level; that is, a pure tone average <or= 60 dB and speech discrimination score >or= 50% according to the Sanna/Fukushima classification. The tumors were classified as moderately large (21-30 mm based on the largest extrameatal diameter), large (31-40 mm), and giant (>or= 41 mm) according to the international criteria. The authors categorized patients with Class A, B, C, D, or E hearing (pure tone average <or= 80 dB and speech discrimination score >or= 40%) as having preserved hearing postoperatively. Forty-one tumors (75.9%) were totally removed and 13 (24.1%) had near-total removal. Of the 54 patients, 29 maintained their hearing postoperatively; the overall hearing preservation rate was 53.7%. Analysis based on the preoperative hearing level showed that hearing was preserved in 14 (77.8%) of 18 cases for Class A; in 8 (47.1%) of 17 cases for Class B; in 4 (57.1%) of 7 cases for Class C; and in 3 (25.0%) of 12 cases for Class D. In addition, according to the analysis based on the tumor size, 20 (52.6%) of 38 patients with moderately large tumors retained their hearing, as did 5 (50.0%) of 10 patients with large tumors and 4 (66.7%) of 6 patients with giant tumors. Complications included 2 cases of bacterial meningitis that were cured by intravenous injection of antibiotics, 3 cases of subcutaneous CSF leakage that resolved without any surgical repair, and 1 case of temporary abducent nerve palsy. There were no deaths in this series. The results indicate that successful hearing preservation surgery in large VSs is possible with meticulous technique and attention to adhesions between the tumor and the cochlear nerves.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2009 · Journal of Neurosurgery
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