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Stephen L. Nutik and Michael J. Babb

Object. This study was undertaken to analyze factors associated with the size of unilateral vestibular schwannomas (VSs).

Methods. A retrospective analysis of an unselected and sequential series of 433 patients with unilateral VSs was conducted. Tumor size was defined by the largest dimension of the tumor in the cerebellopontine angle, and the size was tested for a relationship with patient age and sex. In a subgroup of 231 patients in whom data were available, tumor size was also tested for a relationship with tumor cysts or the absence of an internal auditory canal (IAC) component. Some patients underwent a period of surveillance with serial imaging studies to monitor for tumor growth. Data from these patients, excluding those with cystic tumors, were analyzed to see if tumor growth was related to patient age, sex, or tumor size.

Conclusions. Larger tumors were found in younger patients, in females, in the subgroup of cystic tumors, and in patients in whom there was no tumor component in the IAC. The probable explanations for these larger tumors are a faster growth rate and/or a delay in symptom onset. When untreated tumors are managed with observation, measurable growth is more often seen in larger tumors, although smaller tumors have a faster relative growth rate than larger ones.