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Removal of large acoustic neurinomas (vestibular schwannomas) by the retrosigmoid approach with no mortality and minimal morbidity
  1. I Yamakami1,
  2. Y Uchino1,
  3. E Kobayashi1,
  4. A Yamaura1,
  5. N Oka2
  1. 1Department of Neurosurgery, Chiba University School of Medicine, Chiba, Japan
  2. 2Chiba Ryogo Centre
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Iwao Yamakami
 Department of Neurosurgery, Chiba University School of Medicine, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuoku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan;


Objective: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of removing large acoustic neurinomas (⩾3 cm) by the retrosigmoid approach.

Methods: Large acoustic neurinomas (mean (SD), 4.1 (0.6) cm) were removed from 50 consecutive patients by the retrosigmoid suboccipital approach while monitoring the facial nerve using a facial stimulator-monitor. Excision began with the large extrameatal portion of the tumour, followed by removal of the intrameatal tumour, and then removal of the residual tumour in the extrameatal region just outside the porus acusticus. The last pieces of tumour were removed by sharp dissection from the facial nerve bidirectionally, and resected cautiously in a piecemeal fashion.

Results: There were no postoperative deaths. The tumour was removed completely in 43 of 50 patients (86%). The facial nerve was anatomically preserved in 92% of the patients and 84% had excellent facial nerve function (House-Brackmann grade 1/2). One patient recovered useful hearing after tumour removal. Cerebrospinal fluid leak occurred in 4%, but there were no cases of meningitis. All but two patients (96%) had a good functional outcome.

Conclusions: The method resulted in a high rate of functional facial nerve preservation, a low incidence of complications, and good functional outcomes, with no mortality and minimal morbidity. Very favourable results can be obtained using the retrosigmoid approach for the removal of large acoustic neurinomas.

  • acoustic neurinoma
  • tumour removal

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  • Competing interests: none declared