The Changing Landscape of Vestibular Schwannoma Management in the United States - A Shift Toward Conservatism

Matthew L. Carlson, Elizabeth B. Habermann, Amy E. Wagie, Colin L. Driscoll, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Michael J. Link

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Objective To characterize the evolving management of vestibular schwannoma (VS) in the United States. Study Design Retrospective analysis of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. Setting SEER database. Subjects and Methods All patients with a diagnosis of VS were analyzed. Data were described and compared using trend analyses and univariate and multivariable logistic regression. Results A total of 8330 patients (average age 54.7 years, 51.9% female) were analyzed. The mean incidence was approximately 1.1 per 100,000 per year and did not vary significantly across time; however, from 2004 to 2011, there was a statistically significant decrease in tumor size category at time of diagnosis (P <.01). Overall, 3982 patients (48%) received primary microsurgery, 1978 (24%) radiation therapy alone, and 2370 (29%) observation. Within the microsurgical cohort, 732 (18%) underwent subtotal resection, and of those, 98 (13.4%) received postoperative radiation therapy. Multivariable regression revealed that surgical treatment was more common in younger patients and larger tumor size categories (P <.05). Management trend analysis revealed that microsurgery was used less frequently over time (P <.0001), observation was used more frequently (P <.0001), and the pattern of radiation therapy remained unchanged. Linear regression was used to create an equation that was applied to predict future management practices. These data predict that by 2026, half of all cases of VS will be managed initially with observation. Conclusion While the incidence of VS has remained steady, tumor size at time of diagnosis has decreased over time. Within the United States there has been a clear, recent evolution in management toward observation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-446
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 4 2015


  • acoustic neuroma
  • cerebellopontine angle
  • gamma knife radiosurgery
  • microsurgery
  • stereotactic radiosurgery
  • vestibular schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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