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Neurosurg Focus. 2012 Sep;33(3):E12. doi: 10.3171/2012.6.FOCUS12200.

Do cystic vestibular schwannomas have worse surgical outcomes? Systematic analysis of the literature.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport, Louisiana 71103, USA.



The goal of this study was to perform a systematic quantitative comparison of the surgical outcomes between cystic vestibular schwannomas (CVSs) and solid vestibular schwannomas (SVSs).


A review of English-language literature published between 1990 and 2011 was performed using various search engines including PubMed, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane database. Only studies that reported surgical results of CVSs in comparison with SVSs were included in the analysis. The primary end point of this study was surgical outcomes, defined by the following: 1) facial nerve outcomes at latest follow-up; 2) mortality rates; or 3) non-facial nerve complication index. Secondary end points included extent of resection and brainstem adherence.


Nine studies comprising 428 CVSs and 1287 SVSs were included in the study. The mean age of patients undergoing surgery was 48.3 ± 6.75 and 47.1 ± 9 years for CVSs and SVSs, respectively (p = 0.8). The mean tumor diameter for CVSs was 3.9 ± 0.84 cm and that for SVSs was 3.7 ± 1.2 cm (p = 0.7). There was no significant difference in the extent of resection among CVSs and SVSs (81.2% vs 80.7%, p = 0.87) Facial nerve outcomes were significantly better in the cohort of patients with SVSs than in those with CVSs (52.1% vs 39%, p = 0.0001). The perioperative mortality rates for CVSs and SVSs were not significantly different (3% and 3.8%, respectively; p = 0.6). No significant difference was noted between the cumulative non-facial nerve complication rate (including mortality) among patients with CVSs and SVSs (24.5% and 25.6%, respectively; p = 0.75)


Facial nerve outcomes are worse in patients undergoing resection for CVSs than in patients undergoing resection for SVSs. There were no significant differences in the extent of resection or postoperative morbidity and mortality rates between the cohorts of patients with vestibular schwannomas.

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