Facial and cochlear nerve function after surgery of cerebellopontine angle meningiomas

Neurosurgery. 2005 Jul;57(1):77-90; discussion 77-90. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000154699.29796.34.


Objective: Meningiomas of the cerebellopontine angle (CPA) share a common location, but their site of dural origin and their relationship to surrounding neurovascular structures of the CPA are variable. The clinical presentation and outcome after surgical resection are different because of the diversity of this tumor entity. We report on a series of 421 patients with CPA meningiomas, with special emphasis on the analysis of the preoperative and postoperative facial and cochlear nerve function in relation to the site of dural attachment and main tumor location in the CPA cistern.

Methods: Among 421 patients, the charts of 347 patients with complete clinical data, including the history and audiograms, imaging studies, surgical records, discharge letters, histological records, and follow-up records, were reviewed retrospectively. Data about preoperative and postoperative facial nerve function were available in 334 patients, and audiometric analysis was conducted in 333 patients. Patients with neurofibromatosis Type 2 were excluded from the study.

Results: There were 270 women and 77 men, with a mean age of 53.4 years (range, 17.6-84 yr). Among these patients, 32.9% of the tumors originated at the petrous ridge anterior to the inner auditory canal (IAC) (Group 1), 22.2% showed involvement of the IAC (Group 2), 20.2% were located superior to the IAC (Group 3), 11.8% were inferior to the IAC (Group 4), and 12.9% were posterior to the IAC, originating between the IAC and the sigmoid sinus (Group 5). Patients presented with disturbance of Cranial Nerves V-VIII, the lower cranial nerves, and ataxia, depending on the main tumor location. Tumor resection was performed through a suboccipital-retrosigmoidal approach in the semisitting position in 95% of the patients. A combined supratentorial-infratentorial presigmoidal approach was performed in 5%. Total tumor removal (Simpson Grade 1 and 2) was achieved in 85.9% and subtotal removal in 14.1%. The best initial postoperative facial and auditory nerve function was observed in tumors belonging to Groups 3 and 5. Recovery from preoperative deafness was observed in 1.8% of patients. On long-term follow-up, good facial nerve function (House-Brackmann Grade 1 or 2) was observed in 88.9% of patients. Hearing preservation among patients with preoperative functional hearing was documented in 90.8% on long-term follow-up.

Conclusion: Although the outcome of facial and cochlear nerve function is different in CPA meningiomas, depending on the topographic classification of these tumors, preservation of the cochlear nerve is possible in every tumor group and should be attempted in every patient with CPA meningioma. It has to be kept in mind that recovery of hearing was also observed in patients with preoperative profound hearing deficits.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Cerebellopontine Angle / pathology*
  • Cerebellopontine Angle / surgery
  • Cochlear Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Facial Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Medical Illustration
  • Meningioma / physiopathology
  • Meningioma / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care