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Surg Neurol. 2001 Jul;56(1):8-20; discussion 20-1.

Posterior fossa meningiomas: surgical experience in 161 cases.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, The George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.



We report the clinical, radiological, and surgical findings of patients with posterior fossa meningiomas surgically treated at our institution over the last 6 years.


We reviewed 161 consecutive cases of posterior fossa meningiomas operated on between April 1993 and April 1999 at The George Washington University Medical Center.


There were 128 female and 33 male patients (mean age 47 years, range of 10-81 years). Meningiomas were classified as petroclival (110 cases), foramen magnum (21 cases), cerebellar hemispheric, lateral tentorial (14 cases), cerebellopontine angle (9 cases), and jugular foramen (7 cases). Mean tumor equivalent diameter (TED) = (D1xD2xDE)(1/3) was 3.1 cm (range of 0.53-8.95). Head pain (50% of cases) and disturbance of gait (44%) were the most common presenting symptoms, and cranial neuropathies the most common neurological signs on admission. Mean preoperative performance status (Karnofsky scale) was 80.2 (range 40-100). Surgical approaches to these tumors included partial labyrinthectomy petrous apicectomy, fronto-temporal/fronto-temporal orbitozygomatic osteotomy, retrosigmoidal, extreme lateral, transpetrosal, and combined. In 38 cases a staged procedure was performed. Gross-total resection was achieved in 57% of patients, and subtotal/partial in 43%. Surgical mortality was 2.5% and complications were encountered in 41% of patients. Postoperative CSF leak occurred in 22 cases (13.6%). The mean follow-up was 19 months, ranging from 0.2 to 63.6, and the mean performance status of patients with a follow-up of at least 12 months was 77 (range of 40-100). Recurrence or progression of disease was found in 13.7% of cases (follow-up 2 years or more).


Our experience suggests that although posterior fossa meningiomas represent a continuing challenge for contemporary neurosurgeons, such tumors may be completely or subtotally removed with low rate of mortality and acceptable morbidity, allowing most of these patients to achieve a good outcome in a long-term follow-up.

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