Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Residual and Recurrent Vestibular Schwannomas After Previous Surgery: Clinical Results in a Series of 90 Patients and Review of the Literature

World Neurosurg. 2017 Feb:98:60-72. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2016.10.066. Epub 2016 Oct 21.


Objective: Complete removal of vestibular schwannomas (VS) is not always achievable without any risk of disabling postoperative complications, especially in terms of facial nerve function. Moreover, even after gross total removal, a relevant rate of recurrence has been reported. The aim of this study is to validate Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) as an effective strategy to treat tumor regrowth after previous surgery.

Methods: Ninety patients treated with GKRS for VS after previous microsurgery were included in the present study. GKRS was performed at a median of 31 months (range, 4-174 months) postoperatively. Mean tumor volume was 3.35 cm3 (median, 2.5 cm3; range, 0.027-13 cm3) and median marginal dose was 13 Gy.

Results: At a mean follow-up of 77.2 months, tumor control was achieved in 90% of patients: 2 patients underwent repeated GKRS, and 7 patients underwent further microsurgery. Tumor shrinkage at last follow-up was recorded in 80.3% of cases. The complication rate was low and many consisted of a transient worsening of preexisting symptoms. The overall incidence of persisting facial nerve deficit and trigeminal nerve impairment was, in both cases, 3.3%. Two of 5 patients (40%) preserved functional hearing at last follow-up. One patient (1.1%) underwent ventriculoperitoneal shunting 12 months after GKRS.

Conclusions: GKRS is a safe and effective treatment for growing residual and recurrent VSs, with tumor control obtained in 90% of cases and a low morbidity rate. Moreover, the possibility of treating patients with major medical comorbidities constitutes a significant advantage over repeated surgery.

Keywords: Acoustic neuroma; Gamma Knife; Previous surgery; Radiosurgery; Recurrent; Regrowth; Residual; Review; Vestibular schwannoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Databases, Bibliographic / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Neuroma, Acoustic / diagnostic imaging
  • Neuroma, Acoustic / surgery*
  • Radiosurgery / methods*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome*
  • Young Adult