Object: A review of sporadic and NF2-related vestibular schwannoma surgery in children (under 18 years of age) with a specific interest in resection rates, recurrence, facial nerve outcomes, hearing preservation, hearing rehabilitation and genetic analysis.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data of 35 consecutively operated vestibular schwannomas in 29 paediatric patients that underwent 38 operations between 1992 and 2007. Pre- and post-operative radiology, facial nerve function, pure tone audiogram and speech discrimination tests were performed with a mean follow-up of 4.5 years. Tumour and blood mutations were analysed in 86% of patients.
Results: Total resection was achieved in all sporadic cases and 68% of NF2 cases. Near total resection led to tumour recurrence in 5 out of 10 cases. The facial nerve was anatomically preserved in 92%. Facial nerve function was excellent to good (Grades 1-3) in 88% with outcome related to tumour size. Hearing preservation was successful in 3 of 11 cases.
Conclusions: Surgery with complete resection results in excellent tumour control, but it is more difficult to attain total resection in NF2 with a relatively high recurrence rate of persistently growing tumours. A better facial outcome is associated with smaller tumours, near-total resection and first time surgery. Hearing preservation is possible in a minority. Hearing rehabilitation can be successful by utilising cochlear implants and auditory brain stem implants (ABI) as appropriate. Overall there is a low complication rate and results are comparable with adult series.