The present study aims to assess the clinical utility of a previously validated intraoperative meningioma consistency grading scale and its association with extent of resection (EOR) and various surgical outcomes.
The previously validated grading system was prospectively assessed in 127 consecutive patients undergoing open craniotomy for meningioma by multiple neurosurgeons at two high-volume academic hospitals from 2013 to 2016. Consistency grading scores ranging from 1 (soft) to 5 (firm/calcified) were retrospectively analyzed to test for association with surgical outcomes and EOR, categorized as gross-total resection (GTR) or subtotal resection, defined by postoperative MRI.
One hundred twenty-seven patients were included in the analysis with a tumor consistency distribution as follows: grade 1, 3.1%; grade 2, 14.2%; grade 3, 44.1%; grade 4, 32.3%; and grade 5, 6.3%. The mean tumor diameter was 3.6 ± 1.7 cm. Tumor consistency grades were grouped into soft (grades 1 and 2), average (grade 3), and firm (grades 4 and 5) groups for statistical analysis with distributions of 17.3%, 44.1%, and 38.6%, respectively. There was no association between meningioma consistency and maximal tumor diameter, or location. Mean duration of surgery was longer for tumors with higher consistency: grades 1 and 2, 186 minutes; grade 3, 219 minutes; and grades 4 and 5, 299 minutes (p = 0.000028). There was a trend toward higher perioperative complication rates for tumors of increased consistency: grades 1 and 2, 4.5%; grade 3, 7.0%; and grades 4 and 5, 20.8% (p = 0.047). The proportion of GTR for each consistency group was as follows: grades 1 and 2, 77%; grade 3, 68%; and grades 4 and 5, 43% (p = 0.0062).
In addition to other important meningioma characteristics such as invasiveness, tumor consistency is a key determinant of surgical outcomes, including operative duration and EOR. Future studies predicting tumor consistency based on preoperative neuroimaging will help considerably with preoperative planning for meningiomas.