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Gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery for unilateral acoustic neuromas
  1. J G Rowe,
  2. M W R Radatz,
  3. L Walton,
  4. A Hampshire,
  5. S Seaman,
  6. A A Kemeny
  1. Department of Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr J Rowe, Department of Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Glossop Road, Sheffield S10 2JF, UK;


Objective:To evaluate the clinical results achievable using current techniques of gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery to treat sporadic unilateral acoustic neuromas.

Methods:A retrospective review of 234 consecutive patients treated for unilateral acoustic neuromas between 1996 and 1999, with a mean (SD) follow up of 35 (16) months. Tumour control was assessed with serial radiological imaging and by the need for surgical intervention. Hearing preservation was assessed using Gardner-Robertson grades. Details of complications including cranial neuropathies and non-specific vestibulo-cochlear symptoms are included.

Results:A tumour control rate in excess of 92% was achieved, with only 3% of patients undergoing surgery after radiosurgery. Results were less good for larger tumours, but control rates of 75% were achieved for 35–45 mm diameter lesions. Of patients with discernible hearing, Gardner-Robertson grades were unchanged in 75%. Facial nerve function was adversely affected in 4.5%, but fewer than 1% of patients had persistent weakness. Trigeminal symptoms improved in 3%, but developed in 5% of patients, being persistent in less than 1.5%. Transient non-specific vestibulo-cochlear symptoms were reported by 13% of patients.

Conclusions:Tumour control rates, while difficult to define, are comparable after radiosurgery with those experienced after surgery. The complications and morbidity after radiosurgery are far less frequent than those encountered after surgery. This, combined with its minimally invasive nature, may make radiosurgery increasingly the treatment of choice for small and medium sized acoustic neuromas.

  • Gamma knife radiosurgery
  • acoustic neuroma

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  • Competing interests: none declared