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  • Author or Editor: Matthew L. Carlson x
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William R. Schmitt, Jasper R. Daube, Matthew L. Carlson, Jayawant N. Mandrekar, Charles W. Beatty, Brian A. Neff, Colin L. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

Object

The goal of vestibular schwannoma surgery is tumor removal and preservation of neural function. Intraoperative facial nerve (FN) monitoring has emerged as the standard of care, but its role in predicting long-term facial function remains a matter of debate. The present report seeks to describe and critically assess the value of applying current at supramaximal levels in an effort to identify patients destined for permanent facial paralysis.

Methods

Over more than a decade, the protocol for stimulating and assessing the FN during vestibular schwannoma surgery at the authors' institution has consisted of applying pulsed constant-current stimulation at supramaximal levels proximally and distally following tumor resection to generate an amplitude ratio, which subtracted from 100% yields the degree to which the functional integrity of the FN “dropped off” intraoperatively. These data were prospectively collected and additional variables that might impact postoperative FN function were retrospectively reviewed from the medical record. Only patients with anatomically intact FNs and > 12 months of follow-up data were analyzed.

Results

There were 267 patients available for review. The average posterior fossa tumor diameter was 24 mm and the rate of long-term good (House-Brackmann Grade I–II) FN function was 84%. Univariate logistic regression analysis revealed that prior treatment, neurofibromatosis Type 2 status, tumor size, cerebellopontine angle extension, subjectively thinned FN at the time of operation, minimal stimulation threshold, percent dropoff by supramaximal stimulation (SMS), and postoperative FN function all correlated statistically (p < 0.05) with long-term FN function. When evaluating patients with significant FN weakness at the time of hospital discharge, only the percent dropoff by SMS remained a significant predictor of long-term FN function. However, the positive predictive value of SMS for long-term weakness is low, at 46%.

Conclusions

In a large cohort of patients, the authors found that interrogating intraoperative FN function with SMS is safe and technically simple. It is useful for predicting which patients will ultimately have good facial function, but is very limited in identifying patients destined for long-term facial weakness. This test may prove helpful in the future in tailoring less than gross-total tumor removal to limit postoperative facial weakness.

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Matthew L. Carlson, William R. Copeland III, Colin L. Driscoll, Michael J. Link, David S. Haynes, Reid C. Thompson, Kyle D. Weaver and George B. Wanna

Object

The goals of this study were to report the clinical presentation, radiographic findings, operative strategy, and outcomes among patients with temporal bone encephaloceles and cerebrospinal fluid fistulas (CSFFs) and to identify clinical variables associated with surgical outcome.

Methods

A retrospective case series including all patients who underwent a middle fossa craniotomy or combined mastoid–middle cranial fossa repair of encephalocele and/or CSFF between 2000 and 2012 was accrued from 2 tertiary academic referral centers.

Results

Eighty-nine consecutive surgeries (86 patients, 59.3% women) were included. The mean age at time of surgery was 52.3 years, and the left side was affected in 53.9% of cases. The mean delay between symptom onset and diagnosis was 35.4 months, and the most common presenting symptoms were hearing loss (92.1%) and persistent ipsilateral otorrhea (73.0%). Few reported a history of intracranial infection (6.7%) or seizures (2.2%).

Thirteen (14.6%) of 89 cases had a history of major head trauma, 23 (25.8%) were associated with chronic ear disease without prior operation, 17 (19.1%) occurred following tympanomastoidectomy, and 1 (1.1%) developed in a patient with a cerebral aqueduct cyst resulting in obstructive hydrocephalus. The remaining 35 cases (39.3%) were considered spontaneous. Among all patients, the mean body mass index (BMI) was 35.3 kg/m2, and 46.4% exhibited empty sella syndrome. Patients with spontaneous lesions were statistically significantly older (p = 0.007) and were more commonly female (p = 0.048) compared with those with nonspontaneous pathology. Additionally, those with spontaneous lesions had a greater BMI than those with nonspontaneous disease (p = 0.102), although this difference did not achieve statistical significance.

Thirty-two surgeries (36.0%) involved a middle fossa craniotomy alone, whereas 57 (64.0%) involved a combined mastoid–middle fossa repair. There were 7 recurrences (7.9%); 2 patients with recurrence developed meningitis. The use of artificial titanium mesh was statistically associated with the development of recurrent CSFF (p = 0.004), postoperative wound infection (p = 0.039), and meningitis (p = 0.014). Also notable, 6 of the 7 cases with recurrence had evidence of intracranial hypertension. When the 11 cases that involved using titanium mesh were excluded, 96.2% of patients whose lesions were reconstructed with an autologous multilayer repair had neither recurrent CSFF nor meningitis at the last follow-up.

Conclusions

Patients with temporal bone encephalocele and CSFF commonly present with persistent otorrhea and conductive hearing loss mimicking chronic middle ear disease, which likely contributes to a delay in diagnosis. There is a high prevalence of obesity among this patient population, which may play a role in the pathogenesis of primary and recurrent disease. A middle fossa craniotomy or a combined mastoid–middle fossa approach incorporating a multilayer autologous tissue technique is a safe and reliable method of repair that may be particularly useful for large or multifocal defects. Defect reconstruction using artificial titanium mesh should generally be avoided given increased risks of recurrence and postoperative meningitis.

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Kathryn M. Van Abel, Matthew L. Carlson, Colin L. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff and Michael J. Link

Object

The authors' objective was 2-fold: 1) to compare outcomes of microsurgical resection for vestibular schwannoma (VS) between patients aged 70 years or older and patients younger than 70 years and 2) to test the hypothesis that symptomatic tumors in elderly patients represent a more aggressive variant of VS than those in younger adults, resulting in increased morbidity and a higher rate of recurrence after subtotal resection (STR).

Methods

A retrospective matched cohort study was conducted. Patients aged 70 years or older who had undergone microsurgical resection of VS were matched to adult patients younger than 70 years; the matching was performed on the basis of surgical approach, completeness of resection, and tumor size. Associations between clinical, radiographic, and surgical data and postoperative outcome were analyzed using conditional logistic regression.

Results

Twenty patients aged 70 years or older (mean age ± SD 75.9 ± 5.3, range 70–86 years) were identified and matched to a cohort of younger adult patients (mean age ± SD 55.7 ± 13.8, range 25–69 years). The mean tumor size in both groups was approximately 3 cm. Overall, the elderly patients had a poorer preoperative American Society of Anesthesiology physical status score (p = 0.038), were more likely to report imbalance (OR 9.61, p = 0.016), and more commonly exhibited compromised balance and coordination (OR 9.61, p = 0.016) than patients in the younger cohort.

There were no differences between the 2 cohorts in perioperative complications (p = 0.26) or facial nerve function (p > 0.5) at any time. The elderly patients were 13 times more likely to have long-term postoperative imbalance (OR 13.00, p = 0.013) than the younger patients. Overall, 9 tumors recurred among 32 patients undergoing STR; 6 of these patients underwent additional interventions (stereotactic radiosurgery in 5 patients and microsurgery in 1) and showed no evidence of tumor progression at the last follow-up. The median growth rate of the recurrent tumor in the 6 elderly patients was 4.8 mm/year (range 2.1–14.9 mm/year) and, in the 3 control patients, 2.2 mm/year (range 1.9–4.0 mm/year). Overall, the mortality data showed a trend toward statistical significance (p = 0.068) with a higher risk of death in the elderly.

Conclusions

As the number of elderly patients with VS increases, microsurgical resection will remain an important management option for these patients. Despite a poorer preoperative physical status in elderly patients, their morbidity profiles are similar to those in adult patients younger than 70 years. However, elderly patients may require longer convalescence due to prolonged postoperative imbalance. Not surprisingly, overall diminished functional reserve and advanced comorbidities may increase the mortality risk associated with surgical intervention in the elderly patients. Finally, there was a high risk of further tumor growth following STR in the elderly patients (6 [37.5%] of 16), underscoring the need for close postoperative radiological surveillance and consideration of early stereotactic radiosurgery for the tumor remnant following the STR.

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Matthew L. Carlson, Oystein Vesterli Tveiten, Colin L. Driscoll, Frederik K. Goplen, Brian A. Neff, Bruce E. Pollock, Nicole M. Tombers, Marina L. Castner, Monica K. Finnkirk, Erling Myrseth, Paal-Henning Pedersen, Morten Lund-Johansen and Michael J. Link

OBJECT

The optimal treatment for sporadic vestibular schwannoma (VS) is highly controversial. To date, the majority of studies comparing treatment modalities have focused on a narrow scope of technical outcomes including facial function, hearing status, and tumor control. Very few publications have investigated health-related quality of life (HRQOL) differences between individual treatment groups, and none have used a disease-specific HRQOL instrument.

METHODS

All patients with sporadic small- to medium-sized VSs who underwent primary microsurgery, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), or observation between 1998 and 2008 were identified. Subjects were surveyed via postal questionnaire using the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), the 10-item Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System short form (PROMIS-10), the Glasgow Benefit Inventory (GBI), and the Penn Acoustic Neuroma Quality-of-Life (PANQOL) scale. Additionally, a pool of general population adults was surveyed, providing a nontumor control group for comparison.

RESULTS

A total of 642 respondents were analyzed. The overall response rate for patients with VS was 79%, and the mean time interval between treatment and survey was 7.7 years. Using multivariate regression, there were no statistically significant differences between management groups with respect to the PROMIS-10 physical or mental health dimensions, the SF-36 Physical or Mental Component Summary scores, or the PANQOL general, anxiety, hearing, or energy subdomains. Patients who underwent SRS or observation reported a better total PANQOL score and higher PANQOL facial, balance, and pain subdomain scores than the microsurgical cohort (p < 0.02). The differences in scores between the nontumor control group and patients with VS were greater than differences observed between individual treatment groups for the majority of measures.

CONCLUSIONS

The differences in HRQOL outcomes following SRS, observation, and microsurgery for VS are small. Notably, the diagnosis of VS rather than treatment strategy most significantly impacts quality of life. Understanding that a large number of VSs do not grow following discovery, and that intervention does not confer a long-term HRQOL advantage, small- and medium-sized VS should be initially observed, while intervention should be reserved for patients with unequivocal tumor growth or intractable symptoms that are amenable to treatment. Future studies assessing HRQOL in VS patients should prioritize use of validated disease-specific measures, such as the PANQOL, given the significant limitations of generic instruments in distinguishing between treatment groups and tumor versus nontumor subjects.

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Matthew L. Carlson, Øystein Vesterli Tveiten, Colin L. Driscoll, Christopher J. Boes, Molly J. Sullan, Frederik K. Goplen, Morten Lund-Johansen and Michael J. Link

OBJECT

The primary goals of this study were: 1) to examine the influence of disease and treatment on headache in patients with sporadic vestibular schwannoma (VS); and 2) to identify clinical predictors of long-term headache disability.

METHODS

This was a cross-sectional observational study with international multicenter enrollment. Patients included those with primary sporadic < 3-cm VS and a separate group of general population control subjects without tumors. Interventions included a postal survey incorporating the Headache Disability Inventory (HDI), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and a VS symptom questionnaire. The main outcome measures were univariate and multivariable associations with HDI total score.

RESULTS

The overall survey response rate was 79%. Data from 538 patients with VS were analyzed. The mean age at time of survey was 64 years, 56% of patients were female, and the average duration between treatment and survey was 7.7 years. Twenty-seven percent of patients received microsurgery, 46% stereotactic radiosurgery, and 28% observation. Patients with VS who were managed with observation were more than twice as likely to have severe headache disability compared with 103 control subjects without VS. When accounting for baseline differences, there was no statistically significant difference in HDI outcome between treatment modalities at time of survey. Similarly, among the microsurgery cohort, the long-term risk of severe headache disability was not different between surgical approaches. Multivariable regression demonstrated that younger age, greater anxiety and depression, and a preexisting diagnosis of headache were the primary predictors of severe long-term headache disability, while tumor size and treatment modality had little influence.

CONCLUSIONS

At a mean of almost 8 years following treatment, approximately half of patients with VS experience headaches of varying frequency and severity. Patient-driven factors including age, sex, mental health, and preexisting headache syndrome are the strongest predictors of long-term severe headache disability. Tumor size and treatment modality have less impact. These data may assist with patient counseling regarding long-term expectations following diagnosis and treatment.

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Lucas P. Carlstrom, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Christopher S. Graffeo, Avital Perry, Michael S. Oldenburg, Robert L. Foote, Bruce E. Pollock, Colin L. Driscoll, Matthew L. Carlson and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

Radiation dose to the cochlea has been proposed as a key prognostic factor in hearing preservation following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for vestibular schwannoma (VS). However, understanding of the predictive value of cochlear dose on hearing outcomes following SRS for patients with non-VS tumors of the lateral skull base (LSB) is incomplete. The authors investigated rates of hearing loss following high-dose SRS in patients with LSB non-VS lesions compared with patients with VS.

METHODS

Patients with LSB meningioma or jugular paraganglioma and serviceable pretreatment hearing who underwent SRS treatment during 2007–2016 and received a modiolus dose > 5 Gy were included in a retrospective cohort study, along with a similarly identified control group of consecutive patients with sporadic VS.

RESULTS

Sixteen patients with non-VS tumors and a control group of 43 patients with VS met study criteria. Serviceable hearing, defined as American Academy of Otololaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery class A/B, was maintained in 13 non-VS versus 23 VS patients (81% vs 56%, p = 0.07). All 3 instances of hearing loss in non-VS patients were observed in cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningiomas. Non-VS with preserved hearing had a median modiolus dose of 6.9 Gy (range 5.7–19.2 Gy), versus 7.4 Gy (range 5.4–7.6 Gy) in those patients with post-SRS hearing loss (p = 0.53). Sporadic VS patients received an overall median modiolus point-dose of 6.8 Gy (range 5.4–11.7 Gy).

CONCLUSIONS

The modiolus dose threshold of 5 Gy does not predict hearing loss in patients with non-VS tumors undergoing SRS, suggesting that dosimetric parameters derived from VS may not be applicable to this population. Differential rates of hearing loss appear to vary by pathology, with paragangliomas and petroclival meningiomas demonstrating decreased risk of hearing loss compared to CPA meningiomas that may directly compress the cochlear nerve similarly to VS.