How I Do It: The Role of Flexible Hand-held 2μ-Thulium Laser Fiber in Microsurgical Removal of Acoustic Neuromas

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Abstract

Aims

We performed a retrospective nonrandomized study to analyze the results of microsurgery of acoustic neuromas (AN) using 2μ-thulium flexible hand-held laser fiber (Revolix jr).

Methods

From September 2010 to September 2015, 89 patients suffering from AN have been operated on with microsurgical technique via retrosigmoid approach. In 37 cases, tumor resection was performed with the assistance of 2μ-thulium flexible hand-held laser fiber (L-group). Eight cases operated on with the assistance of CO2 hand-held flexible laser fiber were excluded from this study. A total of 44 patients, operated on without laser assistance during the same period, were used as comparison group (C-group) (matched pair technique). Facial nerve function was assessed with the House-Brackmann (HB) scale preoperatively, and 1 week and 6 months postoperatively.

Results

Overall time from incision to skin suture changed in relation to size of tumor (165-575 minutes) and was not affected by the use of laser. In 7 out of 81 cases, a preoperative facial nerve palsy HB2 and in 1 case, HB4 (permanent) were observed. In the remaining 80 cases, at 6-month follow-up, facial nerve preservation rate (HB1) was 92.5%. Hearing preservation rate (AAO-HNS A/B classes) was 68.2% (26 out of 36). Adopting a 0 to 3 scale, the mean surgeon satisfaction rate of usefulness of laser fiber was 2.7.

Conclusion

The use of 2μ-thulium hand-held flexible laser fiber in AN microsurgery seems to be safe and subjectively facilitates tumor resection especially in “difficult” conditions (e.g., highly vascularized and hard tumors). In this limited retrospective trial, the good functional outcome following conventional microsurgery had not further improved, nor the surgical time reduced by laser. Focusing its use on “difficult” (large and vascularized) cases may lead to different results in future.

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