Prospective Study of Disease-Specific Quality-of-Life in Sporadic Vestibular Schwannoma Comparing Observation, Radiosurgery, and Microsurgery

Matthew L. Carlson, Jason H. Barnes, Ashley Nassiri, Neil S. Patel, Nicole M. Tombers, Christine M. Lohse, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Brian A. Neff, Colin L.W. Driscoll, Michael J. Link

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Previous cross-sectional studies analyzing quality of life (QOL) outcomes in patients with sporadic vestibular schwannoma (VS) have shown surprisingly little difference among treatment modalities. To date, there is limited prospective QOL outcome data available comparing baseline to posttreatment scores. Study Design: Prospective longitudinal study using the disease-specific Penn Acoustic Neuroma Quality of Life (PANQOL) scale. Setting: Large academic skull base center. Patients: Patients diagnosed with unilateral VS who completed a baseline survey before treatment and at least one posttreatment survey. Main Outcome Measures: Change in PANQOL scores from baseline to most recent survey. Results: A total of 244 patients were studied, including 78 (32%) who elected observation, 118 (48%) microsurgery, and 48 (20%) stereotactic radiosurgery. Patients who underwent microsurgery were younger (p < 0.001) and had larger tumors (p < 0.001) than those who underwent observation or radiosurgery; there was no significant difference in duration of follow-up among management groups (mean 2.1 yrs; p = 0.28). When comparing the total PANQOL score at baseline to the most recent survey, the net change was only -1.1, -0.1, and 0.3 points on a 100-point scale for observation, microsurgery, and radiosurgery, respectively (p = 0.89). After multivariable adjustment for baseline features, there were no statistically significant changes when comparing baseline to most recent scores within each management group for facial function, general health, balance, hearing loss, energy, and pain domains or total score. However, the microsurgical group experienced a 10.8-point improvement (p = 0.002) in anxiety following treatment, compared with 1.5 (p = 0.73) and 5.3 (p = 0.31) for observation and radiosurgery, respectively. Conclusions: In this prospective longitudinal study investigating differences in QOL outcomes among VS treatment groups using the disease-specific PANQOL instrument, treatment did not modify QOL in most domains. Microsurgery may confer an advantage with regard to patient anxiety, presumably relating to the psychological benefit of "cure"from having the tumor removed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E199-E208
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021


  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Quality of life
  • Vestibular schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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