Barry E Hirsch

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (116)220.33 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: OBJECT Brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs) are challenging due to a higher symptomatic hemorrhage rate and potential morbidity associated with their resection. The authors aimed to preoperatively define the relationship of CMs to the perilesional corticospinal tracts (CSTs) by obtaining qualitative and quantitative data using high-definition fiber tractography. These data were examined postoperatively by using longitudinal scans and in relation to patients' symptomatology. The extent of involvement of the CST was further evaluated longitudinally using the automated "diffusion connectometry" analysis. METHODS Fiber tractography was performed with DSI Studio using a quantitative anisotropy (QA)-based generalized deterministic tracking algorithm. Qualitatively, CST was classified as being "disrupted" and/or "displaced." Quantitative analysis involved obtaining mean QA values for the CST and its perilesional and nonperilesional segments. The contralateral CST was used for comparison. Diffusion connectometry analysis included comparison of patients' data with a template from 90 normal subjects. RESULTS Three patients (mean age 22 years) with symptomatic pontomesencephalic hemorrhagic CMs and varying degrees of hemiparesis were identified. The mean follow-up period was 37.3 months. Qualitatively, CST was partially disrupted and displaced in all. Direction of the displacement was different in each case and progressively improved corresponding with the patient's neurological status. No patient experienced neurological decline related to the resection. The perilesional mean QA percentage decreases supported tract disruption and decreased further over the follow-up period (Case 1, 26%-49%; Case 2, 35%-66%; and Case 3, 63%-78%). Diffusion connectometry demonstrated rostrocaudal involvement of the CST consistent with the quantitative data. CONCLUSIONS Hemorrhagic brainstem CMs can disrupt and displace perilesional white matter tracts with the latter occurring in unpredictable directions. This requires the use of tractography to accurately define their orientation to optimize surgical entry point, minimize morbidity, and enhance neurological outcomes. Observed anisotropy decreases in the perilesional segments are consistent with neural injury following hemorrhagic insults. A model using these values in different CST segments can be used to longitudinally monitor its craniocaudal integrity. Diffusion connectometry is a complementary approach providing longitudinal information on the rostrocaudal involvement of the CST.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Journal of Neurosurgery
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives/HypothesisThe eustachian tube (ET) is an important landmark in skull base surgery, which has a close relationship with the petrous segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA). The goal of the current study was to establish the detailed anatomic relationship of the ET and petrous segment of the ICA.Study DesignAnatomical study.Methods Six silicon-injected adult cadaveric heads (12 sides) were dissected using a lateral infratemporal fossa approach (type C) and endoscopic endonasal approach. The ET and ICA were exposed; their detailed relationships were demonstrated. High-quality pictures were obtained.ResultsIn the anterior genu/foramen lacerum segment of the ICA, the vidian nerve was an important landmark. The cartilaginous ET was divided into four segments, from anterior to posterior: nasopharyngeal, pterygoid, lacerum, and petrosal segment. The anterior and inferior wall of the carotid canal was consistently between the horizontal ICA and petrous segment of the cartilaginous ET. In the posterior genu of the ICA, the bony part of the ET, and the tendon of the tensor tympani muscle were paramount landmarks. The posterior genu of the ICA was imbedded in the carotid canal. The landmarks of the junction of the cartilaginous ET and bony ET were the sphenoid spine and foramen spinosum.Conclusions The anatomical segmentation of the ET provides the basis for safe and effective transection of the ET in skull base surgery. An understanding of the complex relationships of the ET and petrous segment of the ICA is paramount for surgically dealing with disease located within the region of the ET and petrous segment of the ICA.Level of EvidenceNA Laryngoscope, 2014
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · The Laryngoscope

  • No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Malignant otitis externa (MOE) is an invasive infection of the temporal bone that is classically caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Increasingly, however, nonpseudomonal cases are being reported. The goal of this study was to evaluate and compare the clinical presentation and outcomes of cases of MOE caused by Pseudomonas versus non-Pseudomonas organisms. Retrospective case series with chart review. Tertiary care institution. Adult patients with diagnoses of MOE between 1995 and 2012 were identified. Charts were reviewed for history, clinical presentation, laboratory data, treatment, and outcomes. Twenty patients diagnosed with and treated for MOE at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between 1995 and 2012 were identified. Nine patients (45%) had cultures that grew P aeruginosa. Three patients (15%) had cultures that grew methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Signs and symptoms at presentation were similar across groups. However, all of the patients with Pseudomonas had diabetes, compared with 33% of MRSA-infected patients (P = .046) and 55% of all non-Pseudomonas-infected patients (P = .04). Patients infected with MRSA were treated for an average total of 4.7 more weeks of antibiotic therapy than Pseudomonas-infected patients (P = .10). Overall, patients with non-Pseudomonas infections were treated for a total of 2.4 more weeks than Pseudomonas-infected patients (P = .25). A high index of suspicion for nonpseudomonal organisms should be maintained in patients with signs and symptoms of MOE, especially in those without diabetes. MRSA is an increasingly implicated organism in MOE.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: To assess intracranial pressure (ICP), body mass index (BMI), surgical repair, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion in patients presenting with spontaneous CSF otorrhea. Retrospective series review. Tertiary referral center. Thirty-two patients were treated surgically from 2004 to 2013 for spontaneous CSF otorrhea by the principal investigators. Patients with a history of chronic ear disease and cholesteatoma, previous mastoid surgery, head trauma, or iatrogenic injury were excluded. Average age was 56 years. Twenty-two patients (69%) were female. Middle fossa repair, transmastoid repair, lumbar puncture, V-P shunt, L-P shunt, and magnetic resonance imaging. Patients underwent middle fossa or transmastoid repair of tegmen defects. Intracranial pressures were determined with lumbar puncture at time of surgical repair or shortly after surgery. CSF diversion procedures were performed in patients who were found to have elevated ICP, which was not controlled medically, presented with recurrent leak or had ICP of 25 cm or greater of H2O. Preoperative BMI was calculated. Thirty-two patients underwent 37 operations. Average BMI was 35.0 kg/m (median, 34.7; range, 18.7-53.2 kg/m). There were 21 repairs on the left and 16 on the right. The majority underwent a middle fossa craniotomy for repair (27/32). Two patients had bilateral repairs. Three patients (8%) underwent revision surgery, of which, 2 had untreated intracranial hypertension (ICP 24.5 and 24 cm H2O). ICP measurements were available for 29 patients. The mean ICP was 23.4 cm H2O (median, 24; range, 13-36 cm H20). Twenty-two patients (69%) had ICP of 20 cm or greater of H20; of those, 13 had an ICP of 25 cm or greater of H20. Seventeen patients (53%) underwent CSF diversion procedures. Our findings of elevated ICP and BMI in patients presenting with spontaneous CSF otorrhea are consistent with previous reports in the literature. The percentage of patients that underwent CSF diversion procedures was high at 53% and represents an aggressive stance in managing elevated ICP in a population that may be at risk for subsequent leaks.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Otology & neurotology: official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate tumor control, hearing, tinnitus, and balance outcomes of patients treated with CyberKnife (CK) radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma (VS). Retrospective series review. Tertiary referral center. All patients treated with CK radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma by a multidisciplinary radiosurgical team from August 2005 to November 2011. The median age was 59 years, and mean follow-up was 40 months. Seventy-three patients were treated (63 primary radiosurgery and 10 postsurgical). CK radiosurgery, serial MRI imaging, comprehensive audiometry, Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) scores, and Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC). Tumor control defined as 2 mm linear growth or lower or less than 20% increase in tumor volume (TV), measured in cubic centimeter, after a minimum of 12 months of monitoring, audiogram profiles, THI, and ABC surveys. Of those treated with CK as primary modality, 83% had 0- to 2-mm growth (tumor control or stable) and 17% grew greater than 2 mm. Of the tumors that were stable, 29% shrank 2 mm or greater. Volumetric analysis found that 74% of tumors had less than 20% TV growth, whereas 26% exhibited 20% or greater increase in TV. Of those deemed stable, 65% shrank 20% or greater TV; 95% of patients did not need additional surgical intervention, 3 required salvage surgery and 1 underwent additional radiosurgery. The majority of patients started with Class D hearing, but of those with Class A or B hearing before treatment, 53.5% maintained serviceable hearing at 3 years of follow-up. The pretreatment and posttreatment median THI Grades were both 1. The pretreatment and posttreatment ABC scores were unchanged at 81%. The LINAC-based CK (18 Gy over 3 fractions at 80% isodose line) provides tumor control rates comparable to other forms of radiosurgery. Analysis for tumor growth was positive for 17% using maximum linear diameters and 26% with a volumetric workstation. This discrepancy is consistent with previous reports where volumetric models were found to be more sensitive in establishing growth. Serviceable hearing was comparable to previous SRS and SRT reports with an overall hearing preservation of 53.5%. This number was 77% in those with pre-Class A hearing. SRS did not affect pretreatment tinnitus or vestibular function.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Otology & neurotology: official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology
  • Barry E Hirsch

    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Ear, nose, & throat journal
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    ABSTRACT: Objective(1) Determine whether tuning fork material (aluminum vs stainless steel) affects Rinne testing in the clinical assessment of conductive hearing loss (CHL). (2) Determine the relative acoustic and mechanical outputs of 512-Hz tuning forks made of aluminum and stainless steel.Study DesignProspective, observational.SettingOutpatient otology clinic.Subjects and Methods Fifty subjects presenting May 2011 to May 2012 with negative or equivocal Rinne in at least 1 ear and same-day audiometry. Rinne test results using aluminum and steel forks were compared and correlated with the audiometric air-bone gap. Bench top measurements using sound-level meter, microphone, and artificial mastoid.ResultsPatients with CHL were more likely to produce a negative Rinne test with a steel fork than with an aluminum fork. Logistic regression revealed that the probability of a negative Rinne reached 50% at a 19 dB air-bone gap for stainless steel versus 27 dB with aluminum. Bench top testing revealed that steel forks demonstrate, in effect, more comparable air and bone conduction efficiencies while aluminum forks have relatively lower bone conduction efficiency.Conclusion We have found that steel tuning forks can detect a lesser air-bone gap compared to aluminum tuning forks. This is substantiated by observations of clear differences in the relative acoustic versus mechanical outputs of steel and aluminum forks, reflecting underlying inevitable differences in acoustic versus mechanical impedances of these devices, and thus efficiency of coupling sound/vibratory energy to the auditory system. These findings have clinical implications for using tuning forks to determine candidacy for stapes surgery.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: 1) Compare the clinical presentations and outcomes of patients with MOE caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). 2) Recognize the evolving trend of atypical and drug-resistant organisms causing malignant otitis externa (MOE).
    Preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery

  • No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Journal of Neurological Surgery, Part B: Skull Base
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    ABSTRACT: Object: The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence and discuss the pathogenesis of high-frequency hearing loss (HFHL) after microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS). Methods: Preoperative and postoperative audiogram data and brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) from 94 patients who underwent MVD for HFS were analyzed. Pure tone audiometry at 0.25-2 kHz, 4 kHz, and 8 kHz was calculated for all individuals pre- and postoperatively ipsilateral and contralaterally. Intraoperative neurophysiological data were reviewed independently. An HFHL was defined as a change in pure tone audiometry of more than 10 dB at frequencies of 4 and 8 kHz. Results: The incidence of HFHL was 50.00% and 25.53% ipsilateral and contralateral to the side of surgery, respectively. The incidence of HFHL adjusted for conductive and nonserviceable hearing loss was 26.6% ipsilaterally. The incidence of HFHL at 4 and 8 kHz on the ipsilateral side was 37.23% and 45.74%, respectively, and it was 10.64% and 25.53%, respectively, on the contralateral side. Maximal change in interpeak latency Waves I-V compared with baseline was the only variable significantly different between groups (p < 0.05). Sex, age, and side did not increase the risk of HFHL. Stepwise logistic regression analysis did not find any changes in intraoperative BAEPs to increase the risk of HFHL. Conclusions: High-frequency hearing loss occurs in a significant number of patients following MVD surgery for HFS. Drill-induced noise and transient loss of CSF during surgery may impair hearing in the high-frequency ranges on both the ipsilateral and contralateral sides, with the ipsilateral side being more affected. Changes in intraoperative BAEPs during MVD for HFS were not useful in predicting HFHL. Follow-up studies and repeat audiological examinations may be helpful in evaluating the time course and prognosis of HFHL. Prospective studies focusing on decreasing intraoperative noise exposure, as well as auditory shielding devices, will establish causation and allow the team to intervene appropriately to decrease the risk of HFHL.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Journal of Neurosurgery
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate and compare the surgical anatomy of two different routes to access and drain petrous apex (PA) cholesterol granulomas: the expanded endonasal approach (EEA) and the transcanal infracochlear approach (TICA). Anatomic and radiologic study. The EEA and TICA to the PA were performed in 11 anatomic specimens with the assistance of imaging guidance. The PA was categorized into three zones: superior PA, anterior-inferior PA, and posterior-inferior PA. The maximum drainage window achieved by each approach was calculated using the imaging studies of each anatomic specimen. The EEA was able to reach superior PA and anterior-inferior PA in all specimens and posterior-inferior PA in 90%. The TICA did not provide access to superior PA in any case. The TICA was suitable to reach anterior-inferior PA in 80% of specimens and posterior-inferior PA in 60%. Based on the radiologic study, the EEA provided a drainage window three times larger than the TICA. The transnasal approach provides reliable access to the PA when combined with internal carotid artery exposure and allows for large drainage window. The transcanal approach is less versatile and more limited than the transnasal approach but provides access to the most posterior and inferior portion of the PA without Eustachian tube transection. Here we propose a new surgical classification that may help to decide the most suitable approach to the PA according to the location and extension of the lesion.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · The Laryngoscope
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    ABSTRACT: Facial nerve microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS) provides relief to most patients. Due to the proximity of the cochlear and facial nerves, hearing loss is a potential MVD complication, however, there is a wide range in the reported incidence of hearing loss (HL) in the literature. In order to better understand the HL incidence in our MVD population, we utilized the combination of speech discrimination scores (SDS) and air and bone pure tone threshold averages (PTA) to identify patients with no hearing change, sensorineural hearing loss, or conductive hearing loss. We also assessed the predictive value of patient-reported hearing deficits on the ultimate audiometric diagnosis of hearing loss.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Clinical neurology and neurosurgery
  • Noel L Cohen · Barry E Hirsch
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    ABSTRACT: Meningitis after cochlear implantation continues to be a concern. Recent studies and anecdotal reports support the belief that intracochlear trauma, lack of appropriate immunizations, and a previously used dual-component electrode predispose patients to a higher rate of contracting meningitis. In addition, a history of meningitis, cochlear dysplasia, and certain variations of surgical technique such as the cochleostomy, very young age, immunocompromise, and the presence of neural prostheses such as shunts, are all potentially predisposing factors. Because many of these factors are beyond our control, there is likely to be an inevitable baseline incidence of meningitis, perhaps related to the underlying deafness, but by controlling other factors, we can hope to minimize the incidence. Despite the efforts of multiple individuals and organizations, there continue to be new cases of meningitis, including a small number of fatalities, each year. There is recent evidence that a sizeable percentage of children with implants have not been vaccinated as suggested by governmental agencies, otolaryngologic societies, implant manufacturers, and many cochlear implant centers. Clearly, efforts must be made to ensure age-appropriate vaccination for all cochlear implant recipients.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Otology & neurotology: official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology
  • George S Conley · Barry E Hirsch
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    ABSTRACT: Stereotactic radiation treatment is an increasingly performed procedure for patients with vestibular schwannoma and other benign skull base tumors. During the past 30 years, advancements in stereotactic imaging, radiation delivery techniques, and dose planning have improved overall patient outcomes. The specific role of radiation in current management strategies for vestibular schwannoma continues to evolve as long-term outcome data are analyzed and standardized studies are performed. The recent literature regarding the indications, limitations, and outcomes for stereotactic radiation treatment is reviewed. Systematic reviews of the Gamma Knife literature demonstrate improved overall outcomes with radiation doses below 13 Gy. Observation of small vestibular schwannomas is recommended over early radiation or microsurgical intervention. Radiation may be used as adjunctive therapy for large tumors and in certain postradiation treatment failures. Stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated radiotherapy are equally effective treatment modalities. Long-term outcome data will ultimately define future indications and limitations for the use of stereotactic radiation with benign skull base lesions. Current evidence supports its use for small to medium sized primary and recurrent vestibular schwannomas with optimal dosing below 13 Gy. It is also recommended for adjunctive therapy, recurrent tumors, in poor surgical candidates, and for those who do not desire observation or surgery.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Current opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Glomus jugulare tumors are rare, typically benign, tumors that arise from the neural crest cells that are associated with the autonomic ganglia in and around the jugular bulb. Treatment options for glomus jugulare tumors include embolization followed by resection, fractionated external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and/or stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). 18 patients were treated with linear-accelerator based stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) between May 2002 and November 2008. Fifteen patients (83%) had single glomus jugulare tumors and 3 patients had bilateral glomus jugulare tumors (although each of these patients had a single tumor targeted). The median tumor volume was 5.83 cm(3) (range, 0.32-35.47 cm(3)). Ten tumors (56%) were previously untreated, and 8 (44%) tumors were persistent after previous surgical resection. One patient had undergone previous EBRT and 2 patients were previously treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery to the intracranial portion of their tumor, with planned SBRT to the extracranial portion 2-4 months later at our institution. The median prescribed dose was 20 Gy in 3 fractions (range: 16-25 Gy in 1-5 fx) to the 80% isodose line. The median prescription coverage of the tumor was 93.6% (range: 83-98.72%). Median follow-up for the entire cohort was 22 months. All the patients were alive at the time of the last follow-up with imaging available for review. The tumor was stable in 17 patients and decreased in size in one patient--yielding a local control rate of 100%. No patients experienced any new or worsening treatment-related neurologic deficits. SBRT is a safe and efficacious treatment modality for glomus jugulare tumors.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Radiotherapy and Oncology
  • Noriko Yoshikawa · Barry Hirsch · Fred F Telischi
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the current common practices and techniques used to fixate and stabilize internal receivers. Retrospective, anonymized, cross-sectional survey. William House Cochlear Implant Study Group Meeting in September 2008. A total of 62 surveys were received of the 106 people who had signed in. In adults, 83.3% of the respondents said that they always, 6.7% usually, 3.3% sometimes, 3.3% rarely, and 3.3% never drilled wells for the internal receiver. In pediatric patients, respondents said that they would always 78.6%, usually 8.9%, sometimes 3.6%, rarely 5.4%, and never 3.6% drill wells. Regarding the securing of the internal receiver, 56.1% always, 10.5% usually, 3.5% sometimes, 12.3% rarely, and 17.5% never secured the internal receiver in adults. In the pediatric patient population, 50% always, 12.5% usually, 7.1% sometimes, 12.5% usually, and 17.9% never secured the device. In adults, 50% reported using bone holes, 30% fascial sutures, and 20% screws. In the pediatric population, 45.5% indicated that they used bone holes, 34.5% fascial sutures, and 20% screws. Most respondents rarely or never drilled down to the dura for bone holes. Whereas the majority of respondents do drill wells for the internal receiver in both adults and children, those that did not were represented. The result of this survey emphasizes that alternatives are available and acceptable. There is no significant evidence in the literature to support 1 specific method of fixation.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Otology & neurotology: official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology
  • Jason C Fowler · Barry E Hirsch · Peter F White

    No preview · Article · Jun 2010 · JAAPA: official journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Howard S Moskowitz · Ronald Jaffe · Barry E Hirsch
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    ABSTRACT: The differential diagnosis of middle ear masses encompasses a wide variety of pathologic conditions. In this report, we describe the case of a 6-year-old girl who presented with facial nerve weakness and was found to have a middle ear mass. The mass was excised, and final pathology revealed hemangioendothelioma. This report describes the youngest patient with this diagnosis presenting as a middle ear mass in the Western literature. This article provides this patient's presentation, imaging and histopathologic findings, and clinical course and reviews the current literature on this unique pathologic diagnosis.
    No preview · Article · May 2010 · American journal of otolaryngology
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    ABSTRACT: To summarize the current literature on the surgical management of cavernous malformations of the cerebellopontine angle in accordance with the experience at our institution. A systematic literature review on cavernous malformations of the cerebellopontine angle yielded 14 case reports relevant to the disease. In addition, the authors include their own report of a 16-year-old girl with such a lesion cured by surgical resection. The most common clinical signs associated with this tumor are hearing loss (86.7%), followed by facial paresis (53.8%). Symptoms may be rapidly progressive. Cavernous malformations range from isointense to hyperintense to brain on noncontrasted T1 magnetic resonance imaging. In general, outcomes for patients with this tumor are favorable, with most patients cured by surgical resection. One of the rarest lesions of the cerebellopontine angle is a cavernous malformation. An understanding of the clinical and radiographic differences between this lesion and a vestibular schwannoma helps to minimize perioperative morbidity. Surgical resection should be performed with special attention to preserving facial nerve function.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2009 · Otology & neurotology: official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology

Publication Stats

2k Citations
220.33 Total Impact Points


  • 1989-2015
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • • Department of Otolaryngology
      • • Department of Neurological Surgery
      • • Department of Radiology
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2013
    • Saint Petersburg State University
      Sankt-Peterburg, St.-Petersburg, Russia
  • 2000
    • Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals
      Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States