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Delayed motor weakness following peripheral nerve schwannoma resection: illustrative cases

Rohin Singh and Robert J. Spinner

BACKGROUND

Delayed facial palsy (DFP) after vestibular schwannoma resection is a well-documented, yet poorly understood condition. The exact pathophysiological mechanisms of DFP are unknown, although diminished intraoperative nerve response has been shown to be a prognostic factor. To date, no such condition has been described in regard to peripheral nerve schwannomas.

OBSERVATIONS

Here the authors present the first reported cases of delayed motor weakness (DMW) after peripheral schwannoma resection of the ulnar nerve at the elbow and peroneal nerve in the popliteal fossa. Both patients presented with a mass lesion and radiating paresthesias and had normal motor function preoperatively. Immediately after surgical resection, the patients had full strength. Within 24 hours, both patients exhibited marked weakness that gradually resolved over the course of several weeks.

LESSONS

DMW after peripheral schwannoma resection is a rare condition likely akin to delayed facial nerve palsy after VS resection. The mechanism of this phenomenon remains unknown, although symptoms appear to self-resolve with time. A better understanding of the processes driving this condition may allow for therapies that can expedite and improve long-term outcomes.