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Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2005 Jul;147(7):697-706; discussion 706. Epub 2005 May 30.

Microsurgical results with large vestibular schwannomas with preservation of facial and cochlear nerve function as the primary aim.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.



To evaluate our microsurgical results in dealing with vestibular schwannomas (VS) greater than or equal to 30 mm when preservation of cranial nerve function was considered more important than total tumour removal.


Sixteen consecutive cases were operated on by the same neurosurgeon according to a prospective protocol using intraoperative neuro-monitoring (IONM) based on electromyographic and brain stem auditory evoked potential recordings. Facial nerve function was evaluated on the House-Brackmann Scale and cochlear nerve function on the Gardner-Robertson Scale. Someone not involved in the clinical management of our patients collected all data.


Fifteen patients showed facial nerve (FN) function of House-Brackmann grade (HBG) I or II at one year postoperatively and one kept the HBG IV she had preoperatively. Two patients of four maintained a cochlear nerve function of Gardner-Robertson grade (GRG) II. The tumour excision rates were: total, 68.7%; near total, 6.3%; subtotal, 18.7%, and partial, 6.3%. The average follow-up was 55 months (1-106). Three patients underwent radiotherapy later with growth stabilisation and no additional morbidity.


When dealing with VS greater than or equal to 30 mm, microsurgery guided by IONM, with a rate of total or near-total tumour excision of about 75%, can retain socially acceptable facial nerve function (HBG I or II) in all cases and serviceable hearing (GRG I or II) in two cases out of four. Maintaining serviceable cranial nerve function should take precedence over total tumour excision.

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