Object. Gamma knife surgery (GKS) for vestibular schwannoma is still associated with an additional hearing loss of approximately 30%. The purpose of this study was to record the effect on hearing preservation of maintaining a margin dose of 13 Gy while reducing the maximum dose to 20 Gy.
Methods. Seventy-eight of 95 patients who entered a prospective protocol with a follow up of at least 12 months (mean 22 months) were evaluated. The mean tumor volume was 2.28 cm3. After a mean follow-up duration of 22 months, the magnetic resonance imaging—based tumor control rate was 87%. In two cases a second procedure (surgery) was necessary. Thus, the clinical control rate was 97.5%. In two cases there was an increase in trigeminal dysesthesia. One patient suffered transient facial nerve impairment. Functional hearing was preserved in 83.4% of the patients with functional hearing preoperatively.
Conclusions. Reducing the maximum dose to 20 Gy seems to be an effective treatment, which probably increases preservation of functional hearing without sacrificing the high tumor control rates achieved in radiosurgery. Post-radiosurgery tumor swelling occurred in 25% of the cases and was not correlated with hearing deterioration.