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Franco DeMonte and Paul W. Gidley


In the early 1960s William F. House developed the middle fossa approach for the removal of small vestibular schwannomas (VSs) with the preservation of hearing. It is the best approach for tumors that extend laterally to the fundus of the internal auditory canal, although it does have the potential disadvantage of increased facial nerve manipulation, especially for tumors arising from the inferior vestibular nerve. The aim of this study was to monitor the hearing preservation and facial nerve outcomes of this approach.


A prospective database was constructed, and data were retrospectively reviewed.


Between December 2004 and January 2012, 30 patients with small VSs underwent surgery via a middle fossa approach for hearing preservation. The patients consisted of 13 men and 17 women with a mean age of 46 years. Tumor size ranged from 7 to 19 mm. Gross-total resection was accomplished in 25 of 30 patients. Preoperative hearing was American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) Class A in 21 patients, Class B in 5, Class C in 3, and undocumented in 1. Postoperatively, hearing was graded as AAO-HNS Class A in 15 patients, Class B in 7, Class C in 1, Class D in 2, and undocumented in 5. Facial nerve function was House-Brackmann (HB) Grade I in all patients preoperatively. Postoperatively, facial nerve function was HB Grade I in 28 patients, Grade III in 1, and Grade IV in 1. There were 3 complications: CSF leakage in 1 patient, superficial wound infection in 1, and extradural hematoma (asymptomatic) in 1. The overall hearing preservation rate of at least 73% and HB Grade I facial nerve outcome of 93% in this cohort are in keeping with other contemporary reports.


The middle fossa approach for the resection of small VSs with hearing preservation is a viable and relatively safe option. It should be considered among the various options available for the management of small, growing VSs.

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Shaan M. Raza, Rohan Ramakrishna, Randal S. Weber, Michael E. Kupferman, Paul W. Gidley, Ehab Y. Hanna and Franco DeMonte


A relative paucity of information exists regarding outcomes from craniofacial resection for advanced nonmelanoma skin cancers involving the skull base. In light of advances in surgical technique and adjuvant therapy protocols, the authors reviewed their surgical experience to determine disease control rates, overall survival (OS), morbidity, and mortality.


A retrospective review of 24 patients with nonmelanoma cutaneous cancers with skull base involvement treated with craniofacial resection at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from 1994 to 2012 was performed. Of these patients, 19 (79%) had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), 4 (17%) had basosquamous carcinoma (BSCC), and 1 patient (4%) had adenocarcinoma. Factors as assessed were prior treatment, TNM staging, tumor involvement, extent of intracranial extension, margin status, postoperative complications, recurrence, disease status at last follow-up, and long-term survival. The majority of tumors were T4 (67%) according to the TNM classification; perineural extension was noted in 58%, cavernous sinus involvement in 25%, and dural involvement in 29%.


Postoperative complications occurred in 4 patients (17%) including 1 death. Kaplan-Meier estimates were calculated for OS and progression-free survival (PFS). Median OS was 43.2 months with an 82% 1-year OS and 37% 5-year OS; the median PFS was 91.2 months. Margin status was positively associated with median OS in SCC (91 months [for negative margins] vs 57 months, p = 0.8) and in BSCC (23.7 vs 3.2 months, p < 0.05). Postoperative radiotherapy was associated with improved median OS (43.2 vs 22 months, p = 0.6). Brain involvement was uniformly fatal after 1 year, while cavernous sinus involvement (31 vs 43 months, p = 0.82), perineural disease (31 vs 54 months, p = 0.30), and T4 stage (22 vs 91.2 months, p = 0.09) were associated with worsened OS. Similar associations were found with median PFS.


Aggressive multimodality management with surgery and postoperative radiotherapy can positively impact locoregional control and OS. With improvements in technique and adjuvant therapy protocols, treatment can still be considered in situations of perineural disease and cavernous sinus involvement and as a salvage option for patients in whom prior treatment has failed. As patients with advanced NMSCs often have few options, craniofacial resection, as part of a coordinated multimodal management plan, is justified if it can be performed safely.

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Jack Phan, Courtney Pollard III, Paul D. Brown, Nandita Guha-Thakurta, Adam S. Garden, David I. Rosenthal, Clifton D. Fuller, Steven J. Frank, G. Brandon Gunn, William H. Morrison, Jennifer C. Ho, Jing Li, Amol J. Ghia, James N. Yang, Dershan Luo, He C. Wang, Shirley Y. Su, Shaan M. Raza, Paul W. Gidley, Ehab Y. Hanna and Franco DeMonte


The objective of this study was to assess outcomes after Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) re-irradiation for palliation of patients with trigeminal pain secondary to recurrent malignant skull base tumors.


From 2009 to 2016, 26 patients who had previously undergone radiation treatment to the head and neck received GKRS for palliation of trigeminal neuropathic pain secondary to recurrence of malignant skull base tumors. Twenty-two patients received single-fraction GKRS to a median dose of 17 Gy (range 15–20 Gy) prescribed to the 50% isodose line (range 43%–55%). Four patients received fractionated Gamma Knife Extend therapy to a median dose of 24 Gy in 3 fractions (range 21–27 Gy) prescribed to the 50% isodose line (range 45%–50%). Those with at least a 3-month follow-up were assessed for symptom palliation. Self-reported pain was evaluated by the numeric rating scale (NRS) and MD Anderson Symptom Inventory–Head and Neck (MDASI-HN) pain score. Frequency of as-needed (PRN) analgesic use and opioid requirement were also assessed. Baseline opioid dose was reported as a fentanyl-equivalent dose (FED) and PRN for breakthrough pain use as oral morphine-equivalent dose (OMED). The chi-square and Student t-tests were used to determine differences before and after GKRS.


Seven patients (29%) were excluded due to local disease progression. Two experienced progression at the first follow-up, and 5 had local recurrence from disease outside the GKRS volume. Nineteen patients were assessed for symptom palliation with a median follow-up duration of 10.4 months (range 3.0–34.4 months). At 3 months after GKRS, the NRS scores (n = 19) decreased from 4.65 ± 3.45 to 1.47 ± 2.11 (p < 0.001); MDASI-HN pain scores (n = 13) decreased from 5.02 ± 1.68 to 2.02 ± 1.54 (p < 0.01); scheduled FED (n = 19) decreased from 62.4 ± 102.1 to 27.9 ± 45.5 mcg/hr (p < 0.01); PRN OMED (n = 19) decreased from 43.9 ± 77.5 to 10.9 ± 20.8 mg/day (p = 0.02); and frequency of any PRN analgesic use (n = 19) decreased from 0.49 ± 0.55 to 1.33 ± 0.90 per day (p = 0.08). At 6 months after GKRS, 9 (56%) of 16 patients reported being pain free (NRS score 0), with 6 (67%) of the 9 being both pain free and not requiring analgesic medications. One patient treated early in our experience developed a temporary increase in trigeminal pain 3–4 days after GKRS requiring hospitalization. All subsequently treated patients were given a single dose of intravenous steroids immediately after GKRS followed by a 2–3-week oral steroid taper. No further cases of increased or new pain after treatment were observed after this intervention.


GKRS for palliation of trigeminal pain secondary to recurrent malignant skull base tumors demonstrated a significant decrease in patient-reported pain and opioid requirement. Additional patients and a longer follow-up duration are needed to assess durability of symptom relief and local control.