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Tumor control, facial function preservation, and hearing preservation are important criteria for successful management of intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas, whether observation, microsurgery, or radiosurgery is chosen. We collected data prospectively to assess hearing preservation after intracanalicular vestibular schwannoma radiosurgery.


Between 1987 and 2003, 96 patients (65 men and 31 women) underwent gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for intracanalicular tumors. The median patient age was 54 years (range, 22–80 years). Hearing was graded using the Gardner-Robertson (GR) and the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery classifications. Dose planning was performed on intraoperative stereotactic images using multiple 4-mm isocenters. The median tumor volume was 0.112 mm3 (range, 0.05–0.447 mm3), and the median margin dose was 13 Gy (range, 10–18 Gy).


The mean and median audiologic follow-up periods were 42 months and 28 months (range, 12–144 months), respectively. Serviceable hearing was preserved in 31 of 40 (77.5%) patients with initial American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Class A hearing. Serviceable hearing was preserved in 40 of 79 (64.5%) patients with GR Grade I or II pre-SRS hearing. Ninety-two patients had GR Grade I, II, or III hearing before SRS, and GR Grade I, II, or III hearing was maintained in 78 patients (85%). Hearing grades improved in 7 patients. Facial and trigeminal nerve function was preserved in all patients. The tumor control rate (freedom from additional intervention) was 99.0% (95 of 96) at a median follow-up of 28 months (range, 12–144 months). One patient underwent tumor resection 18 months after radiosurgery.


SRS is a minimally invasive first-line management option for patients with intracanalicular tumors and provides high rates of hearing preservation with minimal morbidity.

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