Aim of study: To identify those patients with vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma) in whom treatment becomes necessary. Method: Retrospective chart review. Result: A total of 205 patients with small tumors were followed for a mean of 40.8 months. The longest follow-up was 180 months. One hundred and ninety-seven patients had a follow-up of more than 12 months. Eight patients with a follow-up of less than 12 months were excluded from the study. In 136 patients (66.3%) the tumor did not grow. Forty-seven patients (23.9%) showed some evidence of slow growth. Eight of 197 patients (4%) had rapid growth and 6 patients (3%) had radiological evidence of tumor regression. Fifteen patients came to surgery. Five of these showed rapid growth, four developed ataxia in whom tumor growth was slow, three had ataxia without tumor growth, two patients developed brainstem compression, and one patient elected to proceed to surgery, although there were no tumor growth or symptoms. Conclusion: Few patients with small tumors will come to surgery in the short term. Perhaps the majority of patients with such small tumors will not need surgery. Long-term follow-up studies of 20 years or more are required to be come more confident about the natural history of these tumors. This study continues.
Keywords: Acoustic neuroma, cerebellopontine angle, magnetic resonance imaging, nonsurgical management