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Madjid Samii, Andrei Koerbel, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Federico Di Rocco, Amir Samii and Alireza Gharabaghi

✓ Increasing rates of facial and cochlear nerve preservation after vestibular schwannoma surgery have been achieved in the last 30 years. However, the management of a partially or completely damaged facial nerve remains an important issue. In such a case, several immediate or delayed repair techniques have been used.

On the basis of recent studies of successful end-to-side neurorrhaphy, the authors applied this technique in a patient with an anatomically preserved but partially injured facial nerve during vestibular schwannoma surgery. The authors interposed a sural nerve graft to reinforce the facial nerve whose partial anatomical continuity had been preserved. On follow-up examinations 18 months after surgery, satisfactory cosmetic results for facial nerve function were observed.

The end-to-side interposed nerve graft appears to be a reasonable alternative in cases of partial facial nerve injury, and might be a future therapeutic option for other cranial nerve injuries.

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Alireza Gharabaghi, Andrei Koerbel, Amir Samii, Jan Kaminsky, Henning Von Goesseln, Marcos Tatagiba and Madjid Samii

Object

Surgical manipulation of the fifth cranial nerve during its intra- or extracranial course may lead to bradycardia or even asystole as well as arterial hypotension, a phenomenon described as the trigeminocardiac reflex (TCR). The authors studied the impact of this reflex on postoperative auditory function in patients undergoing vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery.

Methods

One hundred patients scheduled for VS surgery were studied prospectively for parameters influencing the postoperative auditory function. The evaluation included sex, age, pre- and postoperative auditory function, preoperative mean arterial blood pressure, preoperative medical diseases or medication (for example, antiarrhythmia drugs), tumor size and localization, and the intraoperative occurrence of the TCR.

The TCR, which occurred in 11% of the patients, influenced the postoperative hearing function in the patients with Hannover Class T3 and T4 VSs.

With an overall hearing preservation of 47%, 11.1% of the patients in the TCR group and 51.4% of those in the non-TCR group experienced preserved hearing function postoperatively. In cases involving larger tumors (Hannover Class T3 and T4), an intraoperative TCR was associated with a significantly worse postoperative hearing function during VS surgery (p = 0.005).

Conclusions

The hypotension following TCR is a negative prognostic factor for hearing preservation in patients undergoing VS surgery. Patients’ knowledge of this can be increased pre- and postoperatively. Further study of this phenomenon will advance the understanding of the underlying mechanisms and may help to improve hearing preservation by controlling the occurrence of the TCR.

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Andrei Koerbel, Alireza Gharabaghi, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Marcos Tatagiba and Madjid Samii

The extraordinary improvement of patient outcome after surgical treatment for vestibular schwannomas is relatively recent and has occurred mainly over the last 30 years. The introduction of microsurgical techniques has resulted in increasing degrees of precise anatomical and functional preservation of the facial and cochlear nerves. An expanded microsurgical technique accompanied by continuous electrophysiological monitoring has resulted in marked changes in the primary goals for this surgery. Whereas in the past the primary goal of vestibular schwannoma management was to preserve the patient's life, the objective in vestibular schwannoma treatment today is to preserve neurological function.

Long-term follow-up examinations show negligible recurrence rates, indicating that the aim of preservation of nerve function does not limit the completeness of tumor removal with modern neurosurgical techniques. Despite these advances in preserving the anatomical integrity of, for example, the cochlear nerve, losses of function and even deafness may occur postoperatively in some cases. Current biological and technical research in experimental and clinical settings addresses these problems. In this article, the authors report in detail the developments achieved in vestibular schwannoma surgery and the great clinicians to whom these results can be credited.