During the last decade, the primary objective for large vestibular schwannoma (VS) management has progressively shifted, from tumor excision to nerve preservation by using a combined microsurgical and radiosurgical approach. The aim of this study was to provide a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available literature regarding the combined strategy of subtotal resection (STR) followed by stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for large VSs.
The authors performed a systematic review and meta-analysis in compliance with the PRISMA guidelines for article identification and inclusion using the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases. Established inclusion criteria were used to screen all identified relevant articles published before September 2017 without backward date limit.
The authors included 9 studies (248 patients). With a weighted mean follow-up of 46 months (range 28–68.8 months), the pooled rate of overall tumor control was 93.9% (95% CI 91.0%–96.8%). Salvage treatment (second STR and/or SRS) was necessary in only 13 (5.24%) of 18 patients who experienced initial treatment failure. According to the House-Brackmann (HB) grading scale, functional facial nerve preservation (HB grade I–II) was achieved in 96.1% of patients (95% CI 93.7%–98.5%). Serviceable hearing after the combined approach was preserved in 59.9% (95% CI 36.5%–83.2%).
A combined approach of STR followed by SRS was shown to have excellent clinical and functional outcomes while still achieving a tumor control rate comparable to that obtained with a total resection. Longer-term follow-up and larger patient cohorts are necessary to fully evaluate the rate of tumor control achieved with this approach.