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Facial nerve outcomes in functional vestibular schwannoma surgery: less than total tumour excision significantly improves results

  • T P C Martin (a1), H Fox (a1), E-C Ho (a1), R Holder (a2), R Walsh (a3) and R M Irving (a1)...



To determine the implications of a functional approach to vestibular schwannoma surgery, with facial nerve function prioritised higher than total tumour excision.

Study design:

A case–control study in a tertiary referral neurotology clinic.


A ‘functional’ surgical group treated after April 2007 (n = 44, mean cerebellopontine angle dimension 27 mm), and an ‘excisional’ surgical group matched for tumour size, treated from 1997 to April 2007 (n = 115).


Change to more functional surgical approach.

Main outcomes measured:

Primary outcome: facial nerve status. Secondary outcome: tumour recurrence in less-than-total tumour excision.


Facial nerve preservation: 77 per cent House–Brackmann grade I–II in functional group at 12 months, versus 57 per cent grade I–II in excisional group (p = 0.027). Tumour recurrence: 1 per cent in total excision group, 2 per cent in near-total group and 40 per cent in sub-total group.


A functional approach to vestibular schwannoma surgery improves facial nerve preservation outcomes and reduces the requirement for facial nerve rehabilitative interventions. Tumour recurrence rates are low in near-totally excised lesions but significant if only sub-total excision is achieved.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mr T P C Martin, 1 Charles St, Cambridge CB1 3LZ, UK E-mail:


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Facial nerve outcomes in functional vestibular schwannoma surgery: less than total tumour excision significantly improves results

  • T P C Martin (a1), H Fox (a1), E-C Ho (a1), R Holder (a2), R Walsh (a3) and R M Irving (a1)...


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