Purpose of review: The current practitioner is more often managing intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas than in the past, as improved imaging and heightened awareness leads to earlier diagnosis of these tumors. The role of observation, microsurgery, and radiation treatment in the management of intracanalicular tumors continues to evolve. The goal of this article is to evaluate and summarize recent literature pertaining to the management of intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas.
Recent findings: Watchful waiting is an important management option for patients with minimal symptoms. The literature on the natural history of small vestibular schwannomas continues to expand, with particular emphasis on the expected hearing outcomes. Microsurgical techniques also focus on hearing preservation. Presence of fundal fluid and good or normal hearing preoperatively are positive predictors of hearing preservation after surgery. Long-term follow-up after radiation therapy for vestibular schwannomas continues to demonstrate excellent tumor control rates, although hearing preservation rates are modest.
Summary: Multiple factors, including status of hearing, presence of vestibular symptoms, patient age, medical comorbidities, institutional outcomes, and patient preferences, help determine the management strategy for patients with an intracanalicular vestibular schwannoma.