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  • Author or Editor: Nobuhito Saito x
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Katsushige Watanabe, Nobuhito Saito, Makoto Taniguchi, Takaaki Kirino and Tomio Sasaki

Object. The frequency, nature, and history of subjective taste disturbance before and after vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery was investigated.

Methods. Personal interviews were conducted in 108 patients with unilateral VS. Abnormalities in taste perception, either a significant reduction or a change in character, were experienced by 31 patients (28.7%) before surgery and by 37 (34.3%) after tumor removal. Preoperative taste disturbance worsened after surgery in five (16.1%) of the 31 patients, remained unchanged in eight (25.8%), improved in two (6.5%), and became normal in 16 (51.6%). Taste disturbance occurred postoperatively in 22 (28.6%) of 77 patients who had experienced no preoperative taste disturbance. The mean onset of the abnormality after resection was 1.1 ± 1.7 months. Postoperative taste disturbance resolved in 24 of the 37 patients (64.9%) within 1 year after onset.

Conclusions. Subjective taste disturbance was common before and after VS removal, and the natural history of this condition was very variable in the pre- and postoperative periods. All patients who undergo surgery for VS should receive appropriate counseling about the likelihood and course of postoperative complications, including dysfunction of the sensory component of the facial nerve.

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Takashi Watanabe, Nobuhito Saito, Junko Hirato, Hidetoshi Shimaguchi, Hiroya Fujimaki and Tomio Sasaki

✓ Complete facial palsy (House—Brackmann Grade VI) developed in a 63-year-old man with a vestibular schwannoma 25 months after he had undergone two gamma knife surgeries performed 33 months apart and involving a cumulative dose of 24 Gy directed to the tumor margin at the 50% isodose line. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated tumor enlargement with central nonenhancement, which initially had been recognized 21 months after the second radiosurgery. Microsurgery was performed to achieve total removal of the tumor. Histological and immunohistochemical examinations of the facial nerve specimen removed from the edge of the tumor revealed a loss of axons, proliferation of Schwann cells, and microvasculitis. In this case, microvasculitis and axonal degeneration were probably the major causes of the radiation-induced facial neuropathy.

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Katsushige Watanabe, Takashi Watanabe, Akio Takahashi, Nobuhito Saito, Masafumi Hirato and Tomio Sasaki

✓ The feasibility of high-frequency transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) through screw electrodes placed in the skull was investigated for use in intraoperative monitoring of the motor pathways in patients who are in a state of general anesthesia during cerebral and spinal operations.

Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were elicited by TES with a train of five square-wave pulses (duration 400 µsec, intensity ≤ 200 mA, frequency 500 Hz) delivered through metal screw electrodes placed in the outer table of the skull over the primary motor cortex in 42 patients. Myogenic MEPs to anodal stimulation were recorded from the abductor pollicis brevis (APB) and tibialis anterior (TA) muscles. The mean threshold stimulation intensity was 48 ± 17 mA for the APB muscles, and 112 ± 35 mA for the TA muscles. The electrodes were firmly fixed at the site and were not dislodged by surgical manipulation throughout the operation. No adverse reactions attributable to the TES were observed.

Passing current through the screw electrodes stimulates the motor cortex more effectively than conventional methods of TES. The method is safe and inexpensive, and it is convenient for intraoperative monitoring of motor pathways.

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Nobutaka Kawahara, Tomio Sasaki, Takahiro Asakage, Kazunari Nakao, Masashi Sugasawa, Hirotaka Asato, Isao Koshima and Nobuhito Saito


Primary temporal bone malignancy is a rare form of tumor for which the therapeutic strategy remains controversial. In this study, the authors reviewed their experience with radical temporal bone resection (TBR) of such lesions and analyzed the long-term results to provide treatment recommendations.


Between 1994 and 2006, 17 patients (10 men and 7 women) underwent total or subtotal TBR for primary temporal bone malignancies. Tumors were graded according to the University of Pittsburgh system. The effects of surgical margins and tumor extensions on patient survival were analyzed using the Kaplan–Meier method.


All tumors, except 1, were graded T4 (most advanced). Subtotal TBR was performed in 14 patients, and total TBR was performed in 3. The surgical margin was tumor negative in 10 patients and tumor positive in 7. For large tumors extending into the infratemporal fossa or encroaching on the jugular foramen, orbitozygomatic (3 patients) and posterior transjugular (4 patients) approaches were combined with the standard approach, and en bloc resection with a negative margin was achieved in all cases but 1. The follow-up time ranged from 0.3–11.6 years (mean 3.3 years). The 5-year recurrence-free and disease-specific survival rates were 67.5 and 60.1%, respectively. When a negative surgical margin was achieved, the survival rates improved to 100 and 89%, respectively.


The neurosurgical skull base technique could improve the probability of en bloc resection with a tumor-free margin for extensive temporal bone malignancies, which would cure a subset of patients. The active participation of neurosurgeons would improve patient care in this field.

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