Nodular enhancement within the internal auditory canal following retrosigmoid vestibular schwannoma resection: A unique radiological pattern: Clinical article

Matthew L. Carlson, Kathryn M. Van Abel, William R. Schmitt, Colin L.W. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff, John I. Lane, Michael J. Link

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6 Scopus citations


Object. The authors describe the unique occurrence of nodular enhancement within the fundus of the internal auditory canal (IAC) lateral to the preoperative radiological tumor margin following gross-total vestibular schwannoma (VS) resection. Methods. The nature of the study was a retrospective chart review of records. The authors reviewed the cases of all patients who underwent microsurgical resection of a VS between January 2000 and January 2010 at a single tertiary referral center. Patients with incomplete resection, neurofibromatosis Type 2, and those with fewer than 2 postoperative MR images available for review were excluded. Postsurgical patients with IAC enhancement located lateral to the preoperative imaging-delineated tumor margin were identified. Lesion morphology was characterized on serial MR imaging studies. Clinical follow-up and outcomes were recorded. Results. Over the past decade, 350 patients underwent microsurgical VS resection. Of these, 16 patients met study criteria and were found to have postsurgical enhancement in the distal aspect of the IAC lateral to the imaging limits of the preoperative tumor margin on the first postoperative MR imaging study (37.5% women, median age 45 years). Initial MR imaging was performed at a mean of 3.1 months following surgery, and the mean radiological follow-up duration was 39.8 months (range 16.4-101.9 months). None of the 16 patients developed recurrence during the follow-up course. Conclusions. In contrast to previous publications that have reported a high rate of recurrence in cases involving nodular enhancement within the original tumor bed, postoperative enhancement in the IAC lateral to the original tumor margin appears to carry much less risk for tumor recurrence. These findings may be helpful when counseling patients on the recommended frequency of postoperative follow-up imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-841
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011



  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Cerebellopontine angle
  • Internal auditory canal
  • Vestibular schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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