Modern Management of Meningiomas Compressing the Optic Nerve: A Systematic Review

World Neurosurg. 2018 Oct:118:e677-e686. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.07.020. Epub 2018 Aug 3.


Objective: Meningiomas that compress the optic nerve (ON) can lead to different visual outcomes depending on the segment of ON affected (intraorbital, canalicular, and intracranial). In this study, we performed a comprehensive comparison of the management options (surgery, radiation, or observation alone) for meningiomas compressing the ON, categorized by location and relation to the ON.

Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic reviews databases were searched according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement. Data were extracted from the articles regarding anatomic location, initial visual impairment, surgical procedure, visual outcome, morbidity and mortality, gross total removal, and requirement for postoperative radiotherapy.

Results: Of the 47 articles eligible for full-text reading, 9 surgical studies met our inclusion criteria. Data from 317 patient cases were extracted. In patients in whom the intracranial segment of the ON was impaired in isolation, 49% experienced visual improvement after surgery. When the meningioma affected the canalicular segment or intraorbital segment, visual improvement after surgery was 31% and 11%, respectively. Of patients who underwent surgery for the intraorbital segment of the ON, 56% experienced a decline in visual outcome.

Conclusions: When a neurosurgeon deals with a meningioma compressing the ON, opening the optic canal is suggested if invasion is suspected on the preoperative imaging. Extra caution should be used when operating on meningiomas with ON sheath adhesion, given the higher evidence of postoperative visual worsening.

Keywords: Meningioma; Observation alone; Optic nerve; Radiation; Surgery; Visual outcome.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Meningioma / surgery*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures* / methods
  • Optic Nerve / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity / physiology