The introduction of intraoperative cranial nerve monitoring in posterior fossa surgery has greatly aided the surgeon in identification and anatomic preservation of cranial nerves. As a result, the long-term function of the facial nerve continues to improve after removal of acoustic neuroma. Herein, we report our long-term (1 year or greater) facial nerve outcome in 129 patients who underwent surgical removal of their acoustic neuromas with the aid of intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring between 1986 and 1990. The facial nerve was anatomically preserved in 99.2% of the patients, and 90% of all the patients had grade 1 or 2 facial nerve function 1 year after surgery. Long-term facial function was inversely correlated with the size of tumor (chi-squared, p < 0.02) and was not related to the side of tumor, the age and sex of the patient, or the surgical approach. In a comparison among tumor groups matched for size, no statistically significant difference in facial nerve outcome between the translabyrinthine and retrosigmoid approaches was detected. The proximal facial nerve stimulation threshold at the end of surgical removal was predictive of long-term facial nerve function (analysis of variance, p < 0.02). At 1 year, 98% (87 of 89) of the patients with electrical thresholds of 0.2 V or less had grade 1 or 2 facial nerve function compared with only 50% (8 of 16) of those with thresholds between 0.21 and 0.6 V. In the era of cranial nerve monitoring, patients can be better advised about long-term facial nerve outcome after surgical intervention. Preoperatively, the size of the tumor is the most critical factor in predicting long-term facial function. Postoperatively, the proximal seventh nerve stimulation threshold at the end of the surgical procedure can be used as one prognostic measure of long-term facial nerve function.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994PR79400005
View details for PubMedID 7970793