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Hearing preservation and intraoperative auditory brainstem response and cochlear nerve compound action potential monitoring in the removal of small acoustic neurinoma via the retrosigmoid approach
  1. I Yamakami,
  2. H Yoshinori,
  3. N Saeki,
  4. M Wada,
  5. N Oka
  1. Neurosurgery, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba, Japan
  1. Professor I Yamakami, Neurosurgery, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuoku, Chiba, Japan 260-8670; yamakami{at}


Objective: Hearing preservation is the main focus of small acoustic neurinoma (AN) removal. Refinement of intraoperative auditory monitoring may improve postoperative hearing. We have introduced a newly designed intracranial electrode enabling continuous monitoring of the cochlear nerve compound action potential (CNAP). We performed simultaneous monitoring of the auditory brainstem response (ABR) and CNAP during retrosigmoid small AN removal, and clarified the surgical outcome and the usefulness of CNAP monitoring.

Methods: Twenty-two consecutive patients with a small AN underwent retrosigmoid tumour removal with attempting hearing preservation. ABR and CNAP were simultaneously monitored during tumour removal.

Results: AN was totally removed in all patients without facial palsy. Preservation rate of useful and serviceable hearing was 82% and 91%, respectively. During microsurgical tumour removal, various surgical equipments and procedures intensified artefacts of ABR, and reliable ABR monitoring with distinct wave V was obtained in 9/22 patients. Unaffected by artefacts, reliable CNAP monitoring was obtained more frequently (in 20/22 patients) than ABR (p = 0.0005). CNAP on completion of tumour removal predicted hearing preservation with no false positive or negative (100% sensitivity and 100% specificity). CNAP changed dynamically and stepwise with surgical manipulations.

Conclusion: The retrosigmoid approach using auditory monitoring for a small AN can accomplish total tumour removal with an excellent hearing preservation rate. CNAP provides reliable auditory monitoring more frequently than ABR, reflects the intraoperative auditory function almost in real-time, predicts postoperative hearing with excellent sensitivity and specificity, and is more useful for monitoring in the removal of small AN with hearing preservation.

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  • Competing interests: None.