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Sebastián J. M. Giovannini, Guido Caffaratti, Tomas Ries Centeno, Mauro Ruella, Facundo Villamil, Ricardo Marengo, and Andrés Cervio

Surgical management of vestibular schwannomas has improved over the last 30 years. Whereas in the past the primary goal was to preserve the patient’s life, today neurological function safeguarding is the main objective, with numerous strategies involving single resection, staged resections, postoperative radiosurgery, or single radiosurgery.

The retrosigmoid approach remains the primary pathway for surgical access to the cerebellopontine angle (CPA). The use of an endoscope has great advantages. It contributes to the visualization and resection of residual tumor and also reduces the need for cerebellar retraction.

The authors present a fully endoscopic resection of a large-sized vestibular schwannoma with facial nerve preservation.

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Madjid Samii, Makoto Nakamura, Shahram Mirzai, Peter Vorkapic, and Andres Cervio


The aim of this study was to describe the symptomatology, radiological features, and surgical treatment of patients with cavernous angiomas within the internal auditory canal (IAC).


The authors reviewed the cases of seven patients with cavernous angiomas in the IAC that had been surgically treated in the 22-year period between 1983 and 2005. All the patients had presented with sensorineural hearing loss, and four suffered from tinnitus. Four patients also reported facial symptoms such as hemispasm or progressive palsy; one of these patients had presented with sudden facial paresis due to intrameatal tumor hemorrhage. According to computed tomography (CT) results, the lesions caused enlargement of the IAC. Interestingly, these same angiomas showed variable features on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, making their differentiation from intrameatal vestibular schwannomas (VSs) sometimes impossible. In all patients the lesions were totally removed via the suboccipital retrosigmoid approach. They could be dissected away from the facial nerve in five cases, whereas in two cases, because of the location of the lesion, the seventh cranial nerve had to be sectioned and repaired with a sural nerve graft. Transient worsening of seventh cranial nerve symptoms occurred in two patients, with postoperative improvement in each of them. The cochlear nerve could not be functionally preserved because of its extreme adherence to the tumor, although its continuity was preserved in four patients. Complete deafness was the only postoperative complication.


Cavernous angiomas of the IAC are very uncommon lesions that can imitate the symptoms of VSs. Although it is the most sensitive study available, MR imaging does not show sufficiently specific findings to differentiate the two lesion types. Thus, the preoperative diagnosis must be based on patient symptoms plus the CT and MR imaging features.