Hussam Metwali, Katja Kniese, Babak Kardavani, Venelin Gerganov and Madjid Samii
The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate the dysfunction of the nervus intermedius (NI) after vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery. The authors present a clinically feasible method for this purpose.
In this prospective study, the authors included 30 patients who underwent surgery at the International Neuroscience Institute between May 2014 and February 2017 for resection of VS. The patients’ taste sensation was examined using taste strips. Lacrimation was tested using the Schirmer I test. The clinical evaluation was performed before surgery and repeated at 2 weeks and at 6 months after surgery as well as during the follow-up, which extended up to 2 years. The authors tested the correlation between the NI dysfunctions and the House-Brackmann grade of facial nerve palsy.
The taste sensation was lost on the side of surgery in 2 patients (6.6%) and decreased in 4 patients (13.3%). The disturbance of taste sensation was not statistically correlated with dysfunctions of the motor portion of the facial nerve. The taste impairment resolved in 4 patients within 6 months, but 2 patients suffered from persistent loss of the taste sensation on the side of surgery during the follow-up. In 23 patients (76.6%), the baseline lacrimation was lower on the side of surgery, and it was significantly correlated with outcome for dysfunctions of the motor portion of the facial nerve. During the follow-up, baseline lacrimation improved in correlation with the improvement in the dysfunctions of the motor portion of the facial nerve. None of the patients reported change in salivation or nasal secretion.
The NI can be affected after VS surgery. The disturbance of baseline lacrimal secretion was correlated with dysfunctions of the motor portion of the facial nerve. However, the disturbance of the taste sensation was not correlated with the grade of facial nerve palsy. Dysfunctions of the NI should be evaluated and separately reported while analyzing facial nerve outcome after VS surgery.
Madjid Samii, Hussam Metwali and Venelin Gerganov
The aim of this study was to analyze the efficacy and risks of microsurgery via the hearing-preserving retrosigmoid approach in patients with intracanalicular vestibular schwannoma (VS) suffering from disabling vestibular symptoms, with special attention to vertigo.
This is a retrospective analysis of 19 patients with intracanalicular VS and disabling vestibular dysfunction as the main or only symptom (Group A). All of the patients reported having had disabling vertigo attacks. Subjective evaluation of the impairment of patients was performed before surgery, 3 weeks after surgery, 3 months after surgery, and 1 year after surgery, using the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI). The main outcome measures were improvement in quality of life as measured using the DHI, and general and functional outcomes, in particular facial function and hearing. Patient age, preoperative tumor size, preoperative DHI score, and preservation of the nontumorous vestibular nerve were tested using a multivariate regression analysis to determine factors affecting the postoperative DHI score. The Mann-Whitney U-test was used to compare the postoperative DHI score at 3 weeks, 3 months, and 1 year after surgery with a control group of 19 randomly selected patients with intracanalicular VSs, who presented without vestibular symptoms (Group B). The occurrence of early postoperative discrete vertigo attacks was also compared between groups.
The preoperative DHI score was ≥ 54 in all patients. All patients reported having had disabling rotational vertigo before surgery. The only significant factor to affect the DHI outcome 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery was the preoperative DHI score. The DHI outcome after 1 year was not affected by the preoperative DHI score. Compared with the control group, the DHI score at 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery was significantly worse. There was no significant difference between the groups after 1 year. Vertigo was improved in all patients and completely resolved after 1 year in 17 patients.
Disabling vestibular dysfunction that affects quality of life should be considered an indication for surgery, even in otherwise asymptomatic patients with intracanalicular VS. Surgical removal of the tumor is safe and very effective in regard to symptom relief. All patients had excellent facial nerve function within 1 year after surgery, with a very good chance of hearing preservation.
Madjid Samii, Hussam Metwali and Venelin Gerganov
Microsurgical treatment of recurrent vestibular schwannoma (VS) is difficult and poses specific challenges. The authors report their experience with 53 cases of surgically treated recurrent VS. Outcome of these tumors was compared to that of primarily operated on VS. Special attention was given to the facial nerve functional outcome.
A retrospective analysis was performed of the patients who underwent surgery for recurrent VS at one institution from 2000 to 2013. The preoperative data, intraoperative findings, and outcome in terms of facial nerve function and improvement of the preoperative symptoms were analyzed and compared with those in a control group of 30 randomly selected patients with primarily operated on VS. A multivariate regression analysis was performed to test the factors that could affect the facial nerve outcome in each group.
Fifty-three consecutive patients underwent surgery for recurrent VS. Seventeen patients were previously operated on and received postoperative radiosurgery (Group A). Thirty-six patients were previously operated on but did not receive postoperative radiosurgery (Group B). The overall postoperative facial nerve function was significantly worse in Groups A and B in comparison with the control group (Group C). Interestingly, there was no significant difference in the facial nerve outcome among the 3 groups in patients who had good preoperative facial nerve function. The tumor size and the preoperative facial nerve function are variables that significantly affect the facial nerve outcome. Most of the patients showed improvement of the preoperative symptoms, such as trigeminal hypesthesia, gait disturbance, and headache.
Complete microsurgical tumor removal is the optimal management for patients with recurrent or regrowing VS. The procedure is safe, associated with favorable facial nerve outcome, and may also improve existing neurological symptoms.
Madjid Samii, Maysam Alimohamadi and Venelin Gerganov
Removal of jugular foramen (JF) tumors usually requires extensive skull base approaches and is frequently associated with postoperative morbidities such as lower cranial nerve injury. The endoscope-assisted retrosigmoid infralabyrinthine approach is a relatively new approach to tumors extending into the bony canal of the JF. The authors present their experience with this approach.
The endoscope-assisted retrosigmoid infralabyrinthine approach was used in 7 patients, including 5 with schwannomas and 2 with paragangliomas. The access to the tumor, extent of its removal, postoperative neurological outcome, and approach-related morbidities were evaluated.
Two patients had a history of previous partial tumor removal, and 1 was treated by embolization followed by two courses of Gamma Knife radiosurgery. In this latter patient near-total resection was achieved. Gross-total resection was possible in the remaining 6 patients. Five patients benefited from endoscopic assistance: in 2 patients it showed a tumor remnant after microscopic tumor removal, while in 3 patients it allowed safe removal of the intraforaminal tumor by visualizing the surrounding structures. No permanent neurological deficit was observed after the operation. Two patients presenting with swallowing disturbance had temporary postoperative worsening that improved later. One patient developed CSF leakage that was managed with a lumbar drain.
This study shows that the judicious application of the endoscope-assisted retrosigmoid infralabyrinthine approach is safe and effective for removal of the schwannomas extending into the JF and selected paragangliomas without significant luminal invasion of the sigmoid-jugular system.
Venelin Gerganov, Hussam Metwali, Amir Samii, Rudolf Fahlbusch and Madjid Samii
An extensive craniopharyngioma is a tumor that extends into multiple compartments (subarachnoid spaces) and attains a size larger than 4 cm. A wide spectrum of approaches and strategies has been used for resection of such craniopharyngiomas. In this report the authors focused on the feasibility and efficacy of microsurgical resection of extensive craniopharyngiomas using a frontolateral approach.
A retrospective analysis was performed on 16 patients with extensive craniopharyngiomas who underwent operations using a frontolateral approach at one institution. The preoperative and postoperative clinical and radiological data, as well as the operative videos, were reviewed. The main focus of the review was the extent of radical tumor removal, early postoperative outcome, and approach-related complications.
Gross-total resection of craniopharyngioma was achieved in 14 (87.5%) of 16 cases. Early after surgery (within 3 months), 1 patient showed improvement in hormonal status, while in the remaining 15 patients it worsened. No major neurological morbidity was observed. Two patients experienced temporary psychotic disorders. Visual function improved in 6 patients and remained unchanged in 9. One patient experienced a new bitemporal hemianopsia. Three patients with features of short-term memory disturbances at presentation did show improvement after surgery. There were no deaths or significant approach-related morbidity in this patient series. Only 1 patient required revision surgery for a CSF leak.
The safe and simple frontolateral approach provides adequate access even to extensive craniopharyngiomas and enables their complete removal with a reasonable morbidity and approach-related complication rate.
Madjid Samii, Venelin Gerganov and Amir Samii
The aim of this study was to evaluate and present the results of current surgical treatment of vestibular schwannomas (VSs) and to report the refinements in the operative technique.
The authors performed a retrospective study of 200 consecutive patients who had undergone VS surgery over a 3-year period. Patient records, operative reports, follow-up data, and neuroradiological findings were analyzed. The main outcome measures were magnetic resonance imaging, neurological status, patient complaints, and surgical complications.
Complete tumor removal was achieved in 98% of patients. Anatomical preservation of the facial nerve was possible in 98.5% of patients. In patients treated for tumors with extension Classes T1, T2, and T3, the rate of facial nerve preservation was 100%. By the last follow-up examination, excellent or good facial nerve function had been achieved in 81% of the cases. By at least 1 year postsurgery, no patients had total facial palsy. In the patients with preserved hearing, the rate of anatomical preservation of the cochlear nerve was 84%. The overall rate of functional hearing preservation was 51%. There was no surgery-related permanent morbidity in this series of patients. Cerebrospinal fluid leakage was diagnosed in 2% of the patients. The mortality rate was 0%.
The goal of VS treatment should be total removal in one stage and preservation of neurological function, as they determine a patient’s quality of life. This goal can be safely and successfully achieved using the retrosigmoid approach.