Surgical treatment of dumbbell-shaped jugular foramen schwannomas

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  • Department of Neurosurgery, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas
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Object

Schwannomas of the jugular foramen are rare, comprising between 2 and 4% of intracranial schwannomas. The authors retrospectively analyzed their surgical experience with schwannomas of the lower cranial nerves that presented with intra- and extracranial extensions through an enlarged jugular foramen. The transcondylar suprajugular approach was used without sacrificing the labyrinth or the integrity of the jugular bulb. In this report the clinical and radiological features are discussed and complications are analyzed.

Methods

This retrospective study includes six patients (three women and three men, mean age 31.6 years) with dumbbell-shaped jugular foramen schwannomas that were surgically treated by the senior author during a 5.5-year period. One patient had undergone previous surgery elsewhere. Glossopharyngeal and vagal nerve deficits were the most common signs (appearing in all patients), followed by hypoglossal and accessory nerve deficits (66.6%). Two or more signs or symptoms were present in every patient. Three tumors presented with cystic degeneration. In four patients the jugular bulb was not patent on neuroimaging studies. The suprajugular approach was used in five patients; the origin of the tumor from the 10th cranial nerve could be defined in three of them. All lesions were completely resected. No death or additional postoperative cranial nerve deficits occurred in this series. Aspiration pneumonia developed in one patient. Preoperative deficits of the ninth and 10th cranial nerves improved in one third of the patients and half recovered mobility of the tongue. No recurrence was discovered during the mean follow-up period of 32.8 months.

Conclusions

With careful, extensive preoperative evaluation and appropriate planning of the surgical approach, dumbbell-shaped jugular foramen schwannomas can be radically and safely resected without creating additional neurological deficits. Furthermore, recovery of function in the affected cranial nerves can be expected.

Abbreviations used in this paper:

CA = carotid artery; CT = computerized tomography; MR = magnetic resonance.

Object

Schwannomas of the jugular foramen are rare, comprising between 2 and 4% of intracranial schwannomas. The authors retrospectively analyzed their surgical experience with schwannomas of the lower cranial nerves that presented with intra- and extracranial extensions through an enlarged jugular foramen. The transcondylar suprajugular approach was used without sacrificing the labyrinth or the integrity of the jugular bulb. In this report the clinical and radiological features are discussed and complications are analyzed.

Methods

This retrospective study includes six patients (three women and three men, mean age 31.6 years) with dumbbell-shaped jugular foramen schwannomas that were surgically treated by the senior author during a 5.5-year period. One patient had undergone previous surgery elsewhere. Glossopharyngeal and vagal nerve deficits were the most common signs (appearing in all patients), followed by hypoglossal and accessory nerve deficits (66.6%). Two or more signs or symptoms were present in every patient. Three tumors presented with cystic degeneration. In four patients the jugular bulb was not patent on neuroimaging studies. The suprajugular approach was used in five patients; the origin of the tumor from the 10th cranial nerve could be defined in three of them. All lesions were completely resected. No death or additional postoperative cranial nerve deficits occurred in this series. Aspiration pneumonia developed in one patient. Preoperative deficits of the ninth and 10th cranial nerves improved in one third of the patients and half recovered mobility of the tongue. No recurrence was discovered during the mean follow-up period of 32.8 months.

Conclusions

With careful, extensive preoperative evaluation and appropriate planning of the surgical approach, dumbbell-shaped jugular foramen schwannomas can be radically and safely resected without creating additional neurological deficits. Furthermore, recovery of function in the affected cranial nerves can be expected.

Abbreviations used in this paper:

CA = carotid artery; CT = computerized tomography; MR = magnetic resonance.

Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Ossama Al-Mefty, M.D., 4301 West Markham, #507, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205. email: aekeeland@uams.edu.

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