Surgical outcome of trigeminal schwannomas

Amir Kaywan Aftahy, Maximilian Groll, Melanie Barz, Arthur Wagner, Nicole Lange, Vicki Marie Butenschön, Claire Delbridge, Denise Bernhardt, Bernhard Meyer, Chiara Negwer, Jens Gempt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


(1) Background: As resection of trigeminal schwannomas is challenging, due to anatomical involvement of the anterior, middle and posterior fossa, the appropriate approach is important. We report our experience with surgical resection of trigeminal schwannomas by simple and classic skull-base approaches. (2) Methods: We performed a retrospective single-center study including patients who underwent surgery for trigeminal schwannoma tumors between June 2007 and May 2020, concentrating on surgical technique, extent of resection, postoperative outcome and complications. (3) Results: We included 13 patients (median age 57.5 with range of 36-83 years, 53.8% (7/13) female. The most common preoperative clinical presentations were facial pain in six (46.2%), hypoacusis in four (30.8%), trigeminal nerve hypesthesia in 11 (V1 46.2% (6/13), V2 (61.5% (8/13), V3 46.2% (6/13)) and headache in three (23.1%) patients. In three cases, the tumor was resected in a two-stage technique. The intradural subtemporal approach was performed in six cases, the extradural technique in two cases, the retrosigmoid approach in five cases, a Kawase approach in two cases and the transnasal endoscopic approach in one case. The gross total resection rate was 76.9% (10/13) and the median follow-up time 24.0 (0–136) months. Three (23.1%) patients developed postoperative anesthesia in at least one branch of the trigeminal nerve. Trigeminal motor function was preserved in 11 (84.6%) patients. Ten of the 11 patients (76.9%) who reported decreased gustation, cerebellar ataxia, visual impairment, or headache improved postoperatively. Two (15.4%) patients exhibited minimal facial palsy (House and Brackmann II–III), which resolved during the follow-up. The total adverse event rate requiring surgical intervention during follow-up was 7.7%. Surgery-related mortality was 0%. (4) Conclusions: Trigeminal schwannomas are rare benign lesions with intra-and extracranial extension. Considering the low operative morbidity and satisfying functional outcome, gross total resection of trigeminal schwannomas is achievable by classic, but also individually tailored approaches. More invasive or combined techniques were not needed with meticulous surgical planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1310
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Neurosurgical oncology
  • Operative technique
  • Schwannoma
  • Skull base
  • Trigeminal nerve


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