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Brenton Nash, Matthew L. Carlson and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to examine operative outcomes in cases of microvascular decompression (MVD) of cranial nerve (CN) VIII for tinnitus through a critical review of the literature.

METHODS

Forty-three English-language articles were gathered from PubMed and analyzed. In this review, two different case types were distinguished: 1) tinnitus-only symptomatology, which was defined as a patient with tinnitus with or without sensorineural hearing loss; and 2) mixed symptomatology, which was defined as tinnitus with symptoms of other CN dysfunction. This review reports outcomes of those with tinnitus-only symptoms.

RESULTS

Forty-three tinnitus-only cases were found in the literature with a 60% positive outcome rate following MVD. Analysis revealed a 5-year cutoff of preoperative symptom duration before which a good outcome can be predicted with 78.6% sensitivity, and after which a poor outcome can be predicted with 80% specificity.

CONCLUSIONS

As the 60% success rate is more promising than several other therapeutic options open to the chronic tinnitus sufferer, future research into this field is warranted.

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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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Jonathan P. S. Knisely, Rohan Ramakrishna and Theodore H. Schwartz

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Matthew L. Carlson, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Bruce E. Pollock, Brian A. Neff, Nicole M. Tombers, Colin L. W. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

Object

The goals of this retrospective cohort study were as follows: 1) to describe the long-term prevalence and timing of hearing deterioration following low-dose (12- to 13-Gy marginal dose) stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for vestibular schwannoma (VS); and 2) to identify clinical variables associated with long-term preservation of useful hearing following treatment.

Methods

Patients with serviceable hearing who underwent SRS for VS between 1997 and 2002 were studied. Data including radiosurgery treatment plans, tumor characteristics, pre- and posttreatment pure tone average, speech discrimination scores, and American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery hearing class were collected. Time to nonserviceable hearing was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Univariate and multivariate associations with time to nonserviceable hearing were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression models.

Results

Forty-four patients met the study criteria and were included. The median duration of audiometric follow-up was 9.3 years. Thirty-six patients developed nonserviceable hearing at a mean of 4.2 years following SRS. The Kaplan-Meier estimated rates of serviceable hearing at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 years following SRS were 80%, 55%, 48%, 38%, and 23%, respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that pretreatment ipsilateral pure tone average (p < 0.001) and tumor size (p = 0.009) were statistically significantly associated with time to nonserviceable hearing.

Conclusions

Durable hearing preservation a decade after low-dose SRS for VS occurs in less than one-fourth of patients. Variables including preoperative hearing capacity and tumor size may be used to predict hearing outcomes following treatment. These findings may assist in pretreatment risk disclosure. Furthermore, these data demonstrate the importance of long-term follow-up when reporting audiometric outcomes following SRS for VS.

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Matthew L. Carlson, Kathryn M. Van Abel, William R. Schmitt, Colin L. W. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff, John I. Lane and Michael J. Link

Object

The authors describe the unique occurrence of nodular enhancement within the fundus of the internal auditory canal (IAC) lateral to the preoperative radiological tumor margin following gross-total vestibular schwannoma (VS) resection.

Methods

The nature of the study was a retrospective chart review of records. The authors reviewed the cases of all patients who underwent microsurgical resection of a VS between January 2000 and January 2010 at a single tertiary referral center. Patients with incomplete resection, neurofibromatosis Type 2, and those with fewer than 2 postoperative MR images available for review were excluded.

Postsurgical patients with IAC enhancement located lateral to the preoperative imaging–delineated tumor margin were identified. Lesion morphology was characterized on serial MR imaging studies. Clinical follow-up and outcomes were recorded.

Results

Over the past decade, 350 patients underwent microsurgical VS resection. Of these, 16 patients met study criteria and were found to have postsurgical enhancement in the distal aspect of the IAC lateral to the imaging limits of the preoperative tumor margin on the first postoperative MR imaging study (37.5% women, median age 45 years). Initial MR imaging was performed at a mean of 3.1 months following surgery, and the mean radiological follow-up duration was 39.8 months (range 16.4–101.9 months). None of the 16 patients developed recurrence during the follow-up course.

Conclusions

In contrast to previous publications that have reported a high rate of recurrence in cases involving nodular enhancement within the original tumor bed, postoperative enhancement in the IAC lateral to the original tumor margin appears to carry much less risk for tumor recurrence. These findings may be helpful when counseling patients on the recommended frequency of postoperative follow-up imaging.

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Matthew L. Carlson, Dusica Babovic-Vuksanovic, Ludwine Messiaen, Bernd W. Scheithauer, Brian A. Neff and Michael J. Link

Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) is a rare autosomal dominant disorder characterized by the development of benign tumors of the peripheral nervous system and the CNS, including schwannomas, meningiomas, and ependymomas. The gene responsible for the development of NF2 acts as a tumor suppressor gene. Stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) or single-fraction stereotactic radiosurgery has been increasingly used in the past decades to treat benign tumors in patients with NF2. These radiotherapy methods are less invasive and can be potentially used to treat multiple tumors in a single session. The risk of inducing malignancy is unclear. Few reports exist of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, meningiomas, or ependymomas occurring after SRT or stereotactic radiosurgery in patients with NF2. The authors present the first documented case of rhabdomyosarcoma following SRT for multiple NF2-associated schwannomas. Compared with patients with sporadic tumors, NF2 patients having a germline tumor suppressor gene defect may be more prone to secondary malignancies after treatment involving radiation therapy.

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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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Alexander P. Marston, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Matthew L. Carlson, Bruce E. Pollock, Colin L. W. Driscoll and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

Over the last 30 years, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has become an established noninvasive treatment alternative for small- to medium-sized vestibular schwannoma (VS). This study aims to further define long-term SRS tumor control in patients with documented pretreatment tumor growth for whom conservative observation failed.

METHODS

A prospective clinical database was queried, and patients with sporadic VS who elected initial observation and subsequently underwent SRS after documented tumor growth between 2004 and 2014 were identified. Posttreatment tumor growth or shrinkage was determined by a ≥ 2-mm increase or decrease in maximum linear dimension, respectively.

RESULTS

Sixty-eight patients met study inclusion criteria. The median pre- and posttreatment observation periods were 16 and 43.5 months, respectively. The median dose to the tumor margin was 13 Gy (range 12–14 Gy), and the median maximum dose was 26 Gy (range 24–28 Gy). At the time of treatment, 59 tumors exhibited extracanalicular (EC) extension, and 9 were intracanalicular (IC). Of the 59 EC VSs, 50 (85%) remained stable or decreased in size following treatment, and 9 (15%) enlarged by > 2 mm. Among EC tumors, the median pretreatment tumor growth rate was 2.08 mm/year for tumors that decreased or were stable, compared with 3.26 mm/year for tumors that grew following SRS (p = 0.009). Patients who demonstrated a pretreatment growth rate of < 2.5 mm/year exhibited a 97% tumor control rate, compared with 69% for those demonstrating ≥ 2.5 mm/year of growth prior to SRS (p = 0.007). No other analyzed variables were found to predict tumor growth following SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, SRS administered using a marginal dose between 12–14 Gy is highly effective in treating VSs in which initial observation fails. Tumor control is achieved in 97% of VSs that exhibit slow (< 2.5 mm/year) pretreatment growth; however, SRS is less successful in treating tumors exhibiting rapid growth (≥ 2.5 mm/year).

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Neil S. Patel, Matthew L. Carlson, Bruce E. Pollock, Colin L. W. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff, Robert L. Foote, Christine M. Lohse and Michael J. Link

OBJECTIVE

The morbidity of gross-total resection of jugular paraganglioma (JP) is often unacceptable due to the potential for irreversible lower cranial neuropathy. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been used at the authors’ institution since 1990 for the treatment of JP and other benign intracranial tumors. Conventional means of assessing tumor progression using linear measurements or elliptical approximations are imprecise due to the irregular shape and insinuating growth pattern of JP. The objective of this study was to assess long-term tumor control in these patients by using slice-by-slice 3D volumetric segmentation of serial MRI data.

METHODS

Radiographic data and clinical records were reviewed retrospectively at a single, tertiary-care academic referral center for patients treated from 1990 to 2017. Volumetric analyses by integration of consecutive tumor cross-sectional areas (tumor segmentation) of serial MRI data were performed. Tumor progression was defined as volumetric growth of 15% or greater over the imaging interval. Primary outcomes analyzed included survival free of radiographic and clinical progression. Secondary outcomes included new or worsened cranial neuropathy.

RESULTS

A total of 85 patients were treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for JP at the authors’ institution over the last 27 years. Sixty patients had pretreatment and serial posttreatment contrast-enhanced MRI follow-up suitable for volumetric analysis. A total of 214 MR images were analyzed to segment tumor images in a slice-by-slice fashion to calculate integral tumor volume. The median follow-up duration was 66 months (range 7–202 months). At 5 years the tumor progression-free survival rate was 98%. Three tumors exhibited progression more than 10 years after GKRS. Estimated survival free of radiographic progression rates (95% confidence interval [CI]; n = number still at risk) at 5, 10, and 15 years following radiosurgery were 98% (95% CI 94%–100%; n = 34), 94% (95% CI 85%–100%; n = 16), and 74% (95% CI 56%–98%; n = 6), respectively. One patient with tumor progression required treatment intervention using external beam radiation therapy, constituting the only case of clinical progression. Two patients (3%) without preexisting lower cranial nerve dysfunction developed new ipsilateral vocal fold paralysis following radiosurgery.

CONCLUSIONS

SRS achieves excellent long-term tumor control for JP without a high risk for new or worsened cranial neuropathy when used in primary, combined modality, or recurrent settings. Long-term follow-up is critical due to the potential for late radiographic progression (i.e., more than 10 years after SRS). As none of the patients with late progression have required salvage therapy, the clinical implications of this degree of tumor growth have yet to be determined.

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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.