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Implications of Cystic Features in Vestibular Schwannomas of Patients Undergoing Microsurgical Resection

Jian, Brian J MD, PhD; Sughrue, Michael E MD; Kaur, Rajwant BS; Rutkowski, Martin J BA; Kane, Ari J BA; Kaur, Gurvinder BS; Yang, Isaac MD; Pitts, Lawrence H MD; Parsa, Andrew T MD, PhD

doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318208f614
Research-Human-Clinical Studies

BACKGROUND: Cystic vestibular schwannomas (VSs) are described as being more aggressive than solid tumors.

OBJECTIVE: We examined 468 VS patients to evaluate whether the presence of cystic components in VSs may be an important feature for predicting postoperative outcome.

METHODS: We selected all VS patients from a prospectively collected database (1984-2009) who underwent microsurgical resection for VS. Hearing data were analyzed using American Association of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Facial nerve dysfunction was analyzed using the House-Brackmann scale. We used univariate comparisons to determine the clinical impact of cystic changes on preoperative and postsurgical hearing and facial nerve preservation.

RESULTS: We identified 58 patients (11%) with cystic changes and 410 patients with solid VSs. In this analysis, cystic VS patients tended to have larger tumors (78% of patients with >2.0 cm extrameatal extension) compared with the solid VS group, which consisted of many smaller and medium-sized tumors (P < .0001). Univariate analyses found that tumors with cystic changes did not lead to worse rates of preoperative hearing loss (χ2, P = not significant) compared with solid VSs. Cystic changes conferred worse postoperative hearing in patients with medium-sized tumors (P = .035). Cystic changes also did not significantly affect facial nerve outcomes (χ2, P = not significant).

CONCLUSION: Cystic tumors tend to be larger than noncystic tumors and affect outcomes by reducing the rate at which hearing preservation is attempted and by worsening hearing outcome in medium-sized tumors. Further, peripheral cysts cause lower rates of hearing preservation compared with centrally located cysts.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California

Received, February 17, 2010.

Accepted, June 25, 2010.

Correspondence: Andrew T. Parsa, MD, PhD, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California at San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Avenue San Francisco, CA 94143. E-mail: parsaa@neurosurg.ucsf.edu

Copyright © by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons