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REVIEWER'S COMMENTS ON ARTICLE 3

Hypoglossal-facial nerve side-to-end anastomosis for preservation of hypoglossal function: results of delayed treatment with a new technique. Yutaka Sawamura and Hiroshi Abe

William E. Hitselberger

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William E. Hitselberger and William F. House

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William E. Hitselberger and Richard M. Witten

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Todd H. Lanman, Derald E. Brackmann, William E. Hitselberger, and Bill Subin

Object. The choice of approach for surgical removal of large acoustic neuromas is still controversial. The authors reviewed the results in a series of patients who underwent removal of large tumors via the translabyrinthine approach.

Methods. The authors conducted a database analysis of 190 patients (89 men and 101 women) with acoustic neuromas 3 cm or greater in size. The mean age of these patients was 46.1 ± 15.6 years. One hundred seventy-eight patients underwent primary translabyrinthine surgical removal and 12 underwent surgery for residual tumor. Total tumor removal was accomplished in 183 cases (96.3%). The tumor was adherent to the facial nerve to some degree in 64% of the cases, but the facial nerve was preserved anatomically in 178 (93.7%) of the patients. Divided nerves were repaired by primary attachment or cable graft. Facial nerve function was assessed immediately after surgery, at the time of discharge, and at 3 to 4 weeks and 1 year after discharge. Excellent function (House—Brackmann facial nerve Grade I or II) was present in 55%, 33.9%, 38.8%, and 52.6% of the patients for each time interval, respectively, with acceptable function (Grades I—IV) in 81% at 1 year. Cerebrospinal fluid leakage that required surgical repair occurred in only 1.1% of the patients and meningitis in 3.7%. There were no deaths.

Conclusions. Use of the translabyrinthine approach for removal of large tumors resulted in good anatomical and functional preservation of the facial nerve, with minimum incidence of morbidity and no incidence of mortality. The authors continue to recommend use of this approach for acoustic tumors larger than 3 cm and for smaller tumors when hearing preservation is not an issue.

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Todd H. Lanman, Derald E. Brackmann, William E. Hitselberger, and Bill Subin

Object

The choice of approach for surgical removal of large acoustic neuromas is still controversial. The authors reviewed the results in a series of patients who underwent removal of large tumors via the translabyrinthine approach.

Methods

The authors conducted a database analysis of 190 patients (89 men and 101 women) with acoustic neuromas 3 cm or greater in size. The mean age of these patients was 46.1 ± 15.6 years. One hundred seventy-eight patients underwent primary translabyrinthine surgical removal and 12 underwent surgery for residual tumor. Total tumor removal was accomplished in 183 cases (96.3%). The tumor was adherent to the facial nerve to some degree in 64% of the cases, but the facial nerve was preserved anatomically in 178 (93.7%) of the patients. Divided nerves were repaired by primary attachment or cable graft. Facial nerve function was assessed immediately after surgery, at the time of discharge, and at 3 to 4 weeks and 1 year after discharge. Excellent function (House-Brackmann facial nerve Grade I or II) was present in 55%, 33.9%, 38.8%, and 52.6% of the patients for each time interval, respectively, with acceptable function (Grades I–IV) in 81% at 1 year. Cerebrospinal fluid leakage that required surgical repair occurred in only 1.1% of the patients and meningitis occurred in 3.7%. There were no deaths.

Conclusions

Use of the translabyrinthine approach for removal of large tumors resulted in good anatomical and functional preservation of the facial nerve, with minimum incidence of morbidity and no incidence of mortality. The authors continue to recommend use of this approach for acoustic tumors larger than 3 cm and for smaller tumors when hearing preservation is not an issue.

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William H. Slattery III, Laurel M. Fisher, William Hitselberger, Rick A. Friedman, and Derald E. Brackmann

Object

The authors reviewed the proportion of pediatric patients with neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) in whom hearing was preserved after middle fossa resection of vestibular schwannoma (VS).

Methods

In this retrospective chart review the authors examined the cases of 35 children with NF2 who had undergone middle fossa resection (47 surgeries) between 1992 and 2004 in a neurotological tertiary care center. Surgical outcome was assessed using pure-tone average (PTA) thresholds obtained before and immediately after resection. Speech discrimination scores (SDSs) and pre- and postfacial nerve grades were also recorded. In 55% of surgeries, hearing of less than or equal to 70 dB PTA was maintained postoperatively. The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Class A hearing (PTA ≤ 30 dB and SDS ≥70%) was preserved in 47.7%. Facial nerve function was good (House–Brackmann Grades I or II) in 81% of the patients. Twelve patients had bilateral middle fossa resections; in nine (75%) of these patients hearing was maintained postoperatively in both ears.

Conclusions

More than half of the children with NF2 in the authors' cohort experienced hearing preservation after middle fossa resection was performed for VS. The authors recommend this approach for preserving hearing in children with NF2.

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Johannes Kuchta, Steven R. Otto, Robert V. Shannon, William E. Hitselberger, and Derald E. Brackmann

Object. Development of multichannel auditory brainstem implant (ABI) systems has been based in part on the assumption that audiological outcome can be optimized by increasing the number of available electrodes. In this paper the authors critically analyze this assumption on the basis of a retrospective clinical study performed using the Nucleus 22 ABI surface electrode array.

Methods. The perceptual performances of 61 patients with neurofibromatosis Type 2 were tested approximately 6 weeks after an eight-electrode ABI had been implanted. Of eight implanted electrodes 5.57 ± 2.57 (mean ± standard deviation [SD] provided auditory sensations when stimulated. Electrodes were deactivated when stimulation resulted in significant nonauditory side effects or no auditory sensation at all, and also when they failed to provide distinctive pitch sensations. The mean (± SD) scores for patients with ABIs were the following: sound-only consonant recognition, 20.4 ± 14.3 (range 0–65%); vowel recognition, 28.8 ± 18% (range 0–67%); Monosyllable Trochee Spondee (MTS) word recognition 41.1 ± 25.3% (range 0–100%); and sentence recognition, 5.3 ± 11.4% (range 0–64%). Performance in patients in whom between one and three electrodes provided auditory sensation was significantly poorer than that in patients with between four and eight functional electrodes in the vowel, MTS word, and City University of New York (CUNY) sentence recognition tests. The correlation between performance and electrode number did not reach the 0.05 level of significance with respect to the sound effect, consonant, and MTS stress-pattern recognition tests, probably because a satisfactory performance in these tests can be obtained only with temporal cues, that is, without any information about the frequency of the sounds. In the MTS word and the CUNY sentence recognition tests, performance was optimal in the patients with eight functional electrodes. Although all top performers had more than three functional auditory electrodes, no further improvement (asymptotic performance) was seen in those with five or more active electrodes in the consonant, vowel, and sound effect recognition tests.

Conclusions. A minimum of three spectral channels, programmed in the appropriate individual tonotopic order seem to be required for satisfactory speech recognition in most patients with ABI. Due to the limited access to the tonotopic frequency gradient of the cochlear nucleus with surface stimulation, patients with ABI do not receive a wide range of spectral cues (frequency information) with multielectrode (> 5) surface arrays.

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Steven R. Otto, Derald E. Brackmann, William E. Hitselberger, Robert V. Shannon, and Johannes Kuchta

Object. Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) has typically resulted in deafness after surgical removal of bilateral vestibular schwannomas (VSs). Cochlear implants are generally ineffective for this kind of deafness because of the loss of continuity in the auditory nerve after tumor removal. The first auditory brainstem implant (ABI) in such a patient was performed in 1979 at the House Ear Institute, and this individual continues to benefit from electrical stimulation of the cochlear nucleus complex. In 1992, an advanced multichannel ABI was developed and a series of patients with NF2 received this implant to study the safety and efficacy of the device.

Methods. At the time of first- or second-side VS removal, patients received an eight-electrode array applied to the surface of the cochlear nucleus within the confines of the lateral recess of the fourth ventricle. The device was activated approximately 6 weeks after implantation, and patients were tested every 3 months for the 1st year after the initial stimulation, and annually thereafter. The protocol included a comprehensive battery of psychophysical and speech perception tests.

Conclusions. The multichannel ABI proved to be effective and safe in providing useful auditory sensations in most patients with NF2. The ABI improved patients' ability to communicate compared with the lipreading-only condition, it allowed the detection and recognition of many environmental sounds, and in some cases it provided significant ability to understand speech by using just the sound from the ABI (with no lipreading cues). Its performance in most patients has continued to improve for up to 8 years after implantation.

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William Akard, R. Shane Tubbs, Zachary A. Seymour, William E. Hitselberger, and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

The current state of surgery for vestibular schwannomas (VSs) is the result of a century of step-by-step technical progress by groundbreaking surgeons who transformed the procedure from its hazardous infancy and high mortality rate to its current state of safety and low morbidity rate. Harvey Cushing advocated bilateral suboccipital decompression and developed the method of intracapsular tumor enucleation. Walter Dandy supported the unilateral suboccipital approach and developed the technique of gross-total tumor resection. Microsurgical techniques revolutionized VS surgery to its current status. In this article, the authors review the early history of surgery for VSs with an emphasis on contributions from pioneering surgeons. The authors examined the Cushing Brain Tumor Registry for clues regarding the bona fide intention of Cushing for the resection of these tumors.