Magnetic resonance imaging surveillance following vestibular schwannoma resection

Matthew L. Carlson, Kathryn M. Van Abel, Colin L. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff, Charles W. Beatty, John I. Lane, Marina L. Castner, Christine M. Lohse, Michael J. Link

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: To describe the incidence, pattern, and course of postoperative enhancement within the operative bed using serial gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) following vestibular schwannoma (VS) resection and to identify clinical and radiologic variables associated with recurrence. Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Methods: All patients who underwent microsurgical resection of VS between January 2000 and January 2010 at a single tertiary referral center were reviewed. Postoperative enhancement patterns were characterized on serial MRI studies. Clinical follow-up and outcomes were recorded. Results: During the last 10 years, 350 patients underwent microsurgical VS resection, and of these, 203 patients met study criteria (mean radiologic follow-up, 3.5 years). A total of 144 patients underwent gross total resection (GTR), 32 received near-total resection (NTR), and the remaining 27 underwent subtotal resection (STR); 98.5% of patients demonstrated enhancement within the operative bed following resection (58.5% linear, 41.5% nodular). Stable enhancement patterns were seen in 24.5% of patients, regression in 66.0%, and resolution in only 3.5% of patients on the most recent postoperative MRI. Twelve patients recurred a mean of 3.0 years following surgery. The average maximum linear diameter growth rate among recurrent tumors was 2.3 mm per year. Those receiving STR were more than nine times more likely to experience recurrence compared to those undergoing NTR or GTR (P <.001). Nodular enhancement on the initial postoperative MRI was associated with a 16-fold increased risk for future recurrence compared to those with linear patterns (P =.008). Among those with nodular enhancement on baseline postoperative MRI, a maximum linear diameter of ≥15 mm or volume of ≥0.4 cm 3 was associated with an approximate five-fold increased risk for future growth (P <.02). Conclusions: Persistent nonspecific radiologic enhancement within the postoperative field is common, making the diagnosis of tumor recurrence challenging. Factors including completeness of resection and baseline postoperative MRI findings provide valuable information regarding risk for recurrence, which may assist the clinician in determining an appropriate postoperative MRI surveillance schedule. Future studies using standardized terminology and consistent study metrics are needed to further refine surveillance recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-388
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012


  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Level of Evidence: 2b.
  • cerebellopontine angle
  • internal auditory canal
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • tumor surveillance
  • vestibular schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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