Clinical predictors of facial nerve outcome after translabyrinthine resection of acoustic neuromas

Shamji, Mohammed F.; Schramm, David R.; Benoit, Brien G.
December 2007
Clinical & Investigative Medicine;Dec2007, Vol. 30 Issue 6, pE233
Academic Journal
Purpose: The translabyrinthine approach to acoustic neuroma resection offers excellent exposure for facial nerve dissection with 95% preservation of anatomic continuity. Acceptable outcome in facial asymptomatic patients is reported at 64-90%, but transient postoperative deterioration often occurs. The objective of this study was to identify preoperative clinical presentation and intraoperative surgical findings that predispose patients to facial nerve dysfunction after acoustic neuroma surgery. Methods: The charts of 128 consecutive translabyrinthine patients were examined retrospectively to identify new clinical and intraoperative predictors of facial nerve outcome. Postoperative evaluation of patients to normal function or mild asymmetry upon close inspection (House-Brackmann grades of I or II) was defined as an acceptable outcome, with obvious asymmetry to no movement (grades III to VI) defined as unacceptable. Intraoperative nerve stimulation was performed in all cases, and clinical grading was performed by a single neurosurgeon in all cases. Results: Among patients with no preoperative facial nerve deficit, 87% had an acceptable result. Small size (P < 0.01) and low intraoperative nerve stimulation of < 0.10 mA (P < 0.01) were reaffirmed as predictive of functional nerve preservation. Additionally, preoperative tinnitus (P = 0.03), short duration of hearing loss (P < 0. 01), and lack of subjective tumour adherence to the facial nerve (P = 0.02) were independently correlated with positive outcome. Conclusions: Our experience with the translabyrinthine approach reveals the previously unestablished associations of facial nerve outcome to include presence of tinnitus and duration of hypoacusis. Independent predictors of tumour size and nerve stimulation thresholds were reaffirmed, and the subjective description of tumour adherence to the facial nerve making dissection more difficult appears to be important.


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