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Giselle E. K. Malina, Daniel M. Heiferman, Loren N. Riedy, Caroline C. Szujewski, Elhaum G. Rezaii, John P. Leonetti, and Douglas E. Anderson

OBJECTIVE

Sporadic unilateral vestibular schwannomas are rare in the pediatric population. Little has been reported in the literature on the presentation, tumor size, response to surgical treatment, and recurrence rates in these younger patients. The authors’ goal was to describe their institutional experience with pediatric sporadic vestibular schwannomas and to conduct a meta-analysis of the existing literature to provide further insight into the presentation, tumor characteristics, and surgical outcomes for these rare tumors to help direct future treatment strategies.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients 21 years of age or younger with unilateral vestibular schwannomas and without neurofibromatosis type 2 who underwent resection by the senior authors between 1997 and 2019. A systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis was also performed by entering the search terms “pediatric” and “vestibular schwannoma” or “acoustic neuroma,” as well as “sporadic” into PubMed. Presentation, treatment, clinical outcomes, and follow-up were analyzed.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients were identified at the authors’ institution, ranging in age from 12 to 21 years (mean 16.5 years). Common presenting symptoms included hearing loss (87%), headache (40%), vertigo (33%), ataxia (33%), and tinnitus (33%). At the time of surgery, the mean tumor size was 3.4 cm, with four 1-cm tumors. Four patients had residual tumor following their first surgery, 3 (75%) of whom had significant radiographic regrowth that required further treatment. The literature review identified an additional 81 patients from 26 studies with patient-specific clinical data available for analysis. This resulted in a total of 96 reported patients with an overall average age at diagnosis of 12.1 years (range 6–21 years) and an average tumor size of 4.1 cm.

CONCLUSIONS

Pediatric vestibular schwannomas present similarly to those in adults, although symptoms of mass effect are more common, as these tumors tend to be larger at diagnosis. Some children are found to have small tumors and can be successfully treated surgically. Residual tumors in pediatric patients were found to have a higher rate of regrowth than those in their adult counterparts.

Open access

Rachyl M. Shanker, Miri Kim, Chloe Verducci, Elhaum G. Rezaii, Kerry Steed, Atul K. Mallik, and Douglas E. Anderson

BACKGROUND

While cases of trigeminal neuralgia induced by a brainstem infarct have been reported, the neurosurgical literature lacks clear treatment recommendations in this subpopulation.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the first case report of infarct-related trigeminal neuralgia treated with pontine descending tractotomy that resulted in durable pain relief after multiple failed surgical interventions, including previous microvascular decompressions and stereotactic radiosurgery. A neuronavigated pontine descending tractotomy of the spinal trigeminal tract was performed and resulted in successful pain relief for a 50-month follow-up period.

LESSONS

While many cases of ischemic brainstem lesions are caused by acute stroke, the authors assert that cerebral small vessel disease also plays a role in certain cases and that the relationship between these chronic ischemic brainstem lesions and trigeminal neuralgia is more likely to be overlooked. Furthermore, neurovascular compression may obscure the causative mechanism of infarct-related trigeminal neuralgia, leading to unsuccessful decompressive surgeries in cases in which neurovascular compression may be noncontributory to pain symptomatology. Pontine descending tractotomy may be beneficial in select patients and can be performed either alone or concurrently with microvascular decompression in cases in which the interplay between ischemic lesion and neurovascular compression in the pathophysiology of disease is not clear.