Body Mass Index Predicts Risk for Complications from Transtemporal Cerebellopontine Angle Surgery

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To determine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and risk for specific complications from transtemporal cerebellopontine angle (CPA) surgery for nonmalignant disease.

Study Design.

Case series with chart review.


Tertiary-care academic hospital.

Subjects and Methods.

Retrospective review of 134 consecutive patients undergoing transtemporal cerebellopontine angle surgery for nonmalignant disease from 2009 to 2011. Data were collected regarding demographics, body mass index, intraoperative details, hospital stay, and complications including cerebrospinal fluid leak, wound complications, and brachial plexopathy.


One hundred thirty-four patients were analyzed with a mean preoperative body mass index of 28.58. Statistical analysis demonstrated a significant difference in body mass index between patients with a postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak and those without (P = .04), as well as a similar significant difference between those experiencing postoperative brachial plexopathy and those with no such complication (P = .03). Logistical regression analysis confirmed that body mass index is significant in predicting both postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak (P = .004; odds ratio, 1.10) and brachial plexopathy (P = .04; odds ratio, 1.07). Elevated body mass index was not significant in predicting wound complications or increased hospital stay beyond postoperative day 3.


Risk of cerebrospinal fluid leak and brachial plexopathy is increased in patients with elevated body mass index undergoing surgery of the cerebellopontine angle. Consideration should be given to preoperative optimization via dietary and lifestyle modifications as well as intraoperative somatosensory evoked potential monitoring of the brachial plexus to decrease these risks.

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