Background: Glomus jugulare is a slowly growing, locally destructive tumor located in the skull base with difficult surgical access. The operative approach is, complicated by the fact that lesions may be both intra and extradural with engulfment of critical neurovascular structures. The tumor is frequently highly vascular, thus tumor resection entails a great deal of morbidity and not infrequent mortality. At timeslarge residual tumors are left behind. To decrease the morbidity associated with surgical resection of glomus jugulare, gamma knife surgery (GKS) was performed as an alternative in 13 patients to evaluate its safety and efficacy.
Methods: A retrospective review of 13 residual or unresectable glomus jagulare treated with GKS between 2004 and 2008.. Of these, 11 patients underwent GKS as the primary management and one case each was treated for postoperative residual disease and postembolization. The radiosurgical dose to the tumor margin ranged between 12-15 Gy.
Results: Post- gamma knife surgery and during the follow-up period twelve patients demonstrated neurological stability while clinical improvement was achieved in 5 patients. One case developed transient partial 7th nerve palsy that responded to medical treatment. In all patients radiographic MRI follow-up was obtained, the tumor size decreased in two cases and remained stable (local tumor control) in eleven patients.
Conclusions: Gamma knife surgery provids tumor control with a lowering of risk of developing a new cranial nerve injury in early follow-up period. This procedure can be safely used as a primary management tool in patients with glomus jugulare tumors, or in patients with recurrent tumors in this location. If long-term results with GKS are equally effective it will emerge as a good alternative to surgical resection.