Gamma knife radiosurgery for vestibular schwannomas

Prog Neurol Surg. 2009:22:45-62. doi: 10.1159/000163382.


The purpose of this study was to analyze tumor control and possible complications of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS) in patients with vestibular schwannomas using low marginal doses and conformal multiple shots to fit irregular tumor shapes. The authors evaluated 152 patients with more than 5 years of follow-up. Marginal doses were 9-15 Gy (median 12 Gy), with corresponding treatment volumes ranging from 0.1 to 18.7 cm3 (median 2.0 cm3). The number of isocenters varied from 2 to 24 shots (median 9 shots). The actuarial tumor control rates were 94% at 5 years and 92.4% at 8 years. Larger tumors (p < 0.0001) and those in younger patients (p = 0.018) tended to recur significantly more often. Useful hearing, facial and trigeminal functions were preserved at 71, 100 and 97.4%, respectively. Seventeen percent of all patients developed transient dizziness, with dizziness persisting in 2% of the total. Fifty-six other patients not included in the long-term evaluation consecutively underwent caloric testing and static stabilometry as well as neurological examinations to evaluate vestibular function in detail, both before and after GKRS. The results revealed 90% of the patients to have already developed vestibular dysfunction prior to the treatment despite reported symptoms of dizziness. GKRS did not significantly affect vestibular function. Hydrocephalus was recognized in 5.3% of all patients, and tended to occur in cases with larger tumors (p = 0.0024). GKRS provides a safe and effective therapy for small to medium-sized tumors. However, indications for larger tumors must be carefully considered, as they are more difficult to control and liable to produce ataxia due to transient expansion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Facial Nerve / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hearing*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / diagnosis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroma, Acoustic / diagnostic imaging
  • Neuroma, Acoustic / pathology
  • Neuroma, Acoustic / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiosurgery*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiology
  • Vestibular Nerve / physiology
  • Young Adult