While many studies have been published outlining morbidity following radiosurgical treatment of vestibular schwannomas, significant interpractitioner and institutional variability still exists. For this reason, the authors conducted a systematic review of the literature for non-audiofacial-related morbidity after the treatment of vestibular schwannoma with radiosurgery.
The authors performed a comprehensive search of the English-language literature to identify studies that published outcome data of patients undergoing radiosurgery treatment for vestibular schwannomas. In total, 254 articles were found that described more than 50,000 patients and were analyzed for satisfying the authors' inclusion criteria. Patients from these studies were then separated into 2 cohorts based on the marginal dose of radiation: ≤ 13 Gy and > 13 Gy. All tumors included in this study were < 25 mm in their largest diameter.
A total of 63 articles met the criteria of the established search protocol, which combined for a total of 5631 patients. Patients receiving > 13 Gy were significantly more likely to develop trigeminal nerve neuropathy than those receiving < 13 Gy (p < 0.001). While we found no relationship between radiation dose and the rate of developing hydrocephalus (0.6% for both cohorts), patients with hydrocephalus who received doses > 13 Gy appeared to have a higher rate of symptomatic hydrocephalus requiring shunt treatment (96% [> 13 Gy] vs 56% [≤ 13 Gy], p < 0.001). The rates of vertigo or balance disturbance (1.1% [> 13 Gy] vs 1.8% [≤ 13 Gy], p = 0.001) and tinnitus (0.1% [> 13 Gy] vs 0.7% [≤ 13 Gy], p = 0.001) were significantly higher in the lower dose cohort than those in the higher dose cohort.
The results of our review of the literature provide a systematic summary of the published rates of nonaudiofacial morbidity following radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma.