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Brian R. Subach, Douglas Kondziolka, L. Dade Lunsford, David J. Bissonette, John C. Flickinger, and Ann H. Maitz


Stereotactically guided radiosurgery is one of the primary treatment modalities for patients with acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas). The goal of radiosurgery is to arrest tumor growth while preserving neurological function. Patients with acoustic neuromas associated with neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) represent a special challenge because of the risk of complete deafness. To better define the tumor control rate and long-term functional outcome, the authors reviewed their 10-year experience in treating these lesions.


Forty patients underwent stereotactic radiosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh, 35 of them for solitary tumors. The other five underwent staged procedures for bilateral lesions (10 tumors, 45 total). Thirteen patients (with 29% of tumors) had undergone a median of two prior resections. The mean tumor volume at radiosurgery was 4.8 ml and the mean tumor margin dose was 15 Gy (range 12–20 Gy).

The overall tumor control rate was 98%. During the median follow-up period of 36 months, 16 (36%) tumors regressed, 28 (62%) remained unchanged, and one (2%) grew. In the 10 patients for whom more than 5 years of clinical and neuroimaging follow-up results were available (median 92 months), five tumors were smaller and five remained unchanged. Surgical resection was performed in three patients (7%) after radiosurgery; only one showed radiographic evidence of progression. Useful hearing (Gardner-Robertson Class I or II) was preserved in six (43%) of 14 patients and this rate improved to 67% after modifications made in 1992. Normal facial nerve function (House-Brackmann Grade 1) was preserved in 25 (81%) of 31 patients. Normal trigeminal nerve function was preserved in 34 (94%) of 36 patients.


Stereotactically guided radiosurgery is a safe and effective treatment for patients with acoustic tumors in the setting of NF2. The rate of hearing preservation may be better with radiosurgery than with other available techniques.

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Douglas Kondziolka, Brian R. Subach, L. Dade Lunsford, David J. Bissonette, and John C. Flickinger

Surgeons perform stereotactic radiosurgery as the main alternative to acoustic tumor (vestibular schwannoma) resection. The goals of radiosurgery include preservation of neurological function and prevention of tumor growth. Longer-term outcomes are not well documented for patients with solitary tumors or those with neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2).

To define outcomes, the authors evaluated 462 consecutive patients with solitary acoustic tumors and 40 patients with NF2 (total of 45 tumors treated) who underwent radiosurgery between 1987 and 1998.

Serial imaging studies, clinical evaluations, and a patient survey were performed. The average tumor margin dose was 15 Gy, and the mean transverse tumor diameter was 22 mm. In patients with solitary tumors, prior resection had been performed in 111 patients (24%); 27 patients experienced tumor recurrence after a “total resection.”

The clinical tumor control rate (no resection required) was 98%. In non-NF2 patients followed for at least 5 years, 100 tumors (61.7%) were smaller, 53 (32.7%) remained unchanged in size, and nine (5.6%) were slightly larger. Resection was performed in four patients (2.4%). Neurological deficits after radiosurgery all occurred within the first 28 months. The rates of facial and trigeminal neuropathy varied with radiosurgery technique. In patients with NF2, 16 tumors were smaller, 28 remained unchanged, and one enlarged (overall 98% control rate at median 3-year follow up). Resection was performed in three patients (7%). Useful hearing was preserved in six (43%) of 14 NF2 patients who had useful hearing before radiosurgery.

Radiosurgery provided long-term tumor control associated with high rates of neurological function preservation. No further tumor surgery was necessary in 98% of patients with solitary tumors followed for a minimum of 5 years.