Self-assessed quality of life after acoustic neuroma surgery

Simone A. Betchen Department of Neurosurgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York

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Jane Walsh Department of Neurosurgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York

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Kalmon D. Post Department of Neurosurgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York

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Object. The aim of this study was to determine if factors such as postoperative hearing, facial function, headaches, or other factors have an impact on self-assessed quality of life (QOL) after acoustic neuroma surgery.

Methods. The SF-36 and seven additional questions on the impact of surgery on the QOL were sent to 135 consecutive patients who had undergone acoustic neuroma surgery. The Spearman rho correlations were calculated for each of the eight categories of the SF-36 (general health, physical functioning, physical role limitations, emotional role limitations, mental health, energy/vitality, pain, social functioning). The results were correlated with patients' sex, age, persistent headache, years since surgery, postoperative hearing level, and facial function.

The response rate was 74.8%. The transformed scores of the eight categories of the SF-36 were lower than age-matched healthy controls in approximately half of the categories. The strongest trend toward lower scores with statistical significance in two categories was persistent headaches. Some categories demonstrated trends toward lower scores with females or age older than 55 years. Postoperative hearing and facial functioning, and time since surgery showed no statistically significant impact on QOL measured by the SF-36. Responses to the additional questions indicate that hearing, facial function, and headache influenced people's feelings about surgery and had an impact on their return to work.

Conclusions. The QOL scores are not consistently lower than population normative values compared with different normative studies. The strongest correlation was between the presence of persistent headache and QOL. Other correlations were not consistent in all categories, and few were statistically significant. These trends in some categories do not explain the difference seen between patients after acoustic neuroma surgery in this study and normal populations in other studies.

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