Conservative management of acoustic neuroma: An outcome study

H. Gordon Deen, Michael J. Ebersold, Stephen G. Harner, Charles W. Beatty, Mitchell S. Marion, Robert E. Wharen, J. Douglas Green, Lynn Quast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: This study analyzed selection criteria, clinical outcome, and tumor growth rates in patients with acoustic neuromas in whom the initial management strategy was observation. METHODS: A retrospective review of patients with conservatively managed unilateral acoustic neuromas was conducted. Minimum follow-up was 6 months. Patients with neurofibromatosis Type II were excluded. Differences in tumor growth rates were analyzed by use of the Wilcoxon rank sum test. RESULTS: Sixty-eight patients (31 men and 37 women) with a mean age of 67.1 years were followed for an average of 3.4 years after diagnosis. The reasons for a trial of observation included advanced age (55%), patient preference (21%), minimal symptoms (9%), poor general medical condition (7%), asymptomatic tumor (4%), and tumor in the only hearing ear (4%). Fifty-eight patients (85%) were successfully managed with observation alone. Ten patients (15%) ultimately required treatment (nine received microsurgical treatment and one patient underwent radiosurgical intervention) at a mean time interval of 4.0 years after diagnosis. Forty-eight tumors (71%) showed no growth and 20 (29%) enlarged during the study period. The mean tumor growth rate at the 1-year follow-up was significantly higher in the group requiring treatment (3.0 mm) than in the group not requiring treatment (0.36 mm) (P < 0.0001). Thus, the tumor growth rate at the 1-year follow-up was a strong predictor of the eventual need for treatment. CONCLUSION: Observation is a reasonable management strategy in carefully selected patients with acoustic neuromas. Diligent follow-up with serial magnetic resonance imaging is recommended, because some tumors will enlarge to the point at which active treatment is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-266
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 1996


  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Vestibular schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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