Intratumoral hemorrhage and fibrosis in vestibular schwannoma: A possible mechanism for hearing loss: Clinical article

Michael E. Sughrue, Rajwant Kaur, Ari J. Kane, Martin J. Rutkowski, Isaac Yang, Lawrence H. Pitts, Tarik Tihan, Andrew T. Parsa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Object. Vestibular schwannomas (VSs) are benign lesions with an unpredictable natural history. Perhaps the greatest barrier to predicting which patients need treatment is our poor understanding of how these tumors cause hearing loss in the first place. In this case-control study, the authors investigated the relationship between preoperative hearing loss and histological changes such as intratumoral microhemorrhage and extensive fibrosis. Methods. From a prospectively collected database, the authors selected all patients with VS who had undergone microsurgical resection as their initial treatment for histopathologically confirmed VS. Histological specimens obtained in 274 of these patients were systematically reviewed by a blinded neuropathologist who graded the extent of microhemorrhage and fibrosis in these tumors. The effect of these variables on preoperative hearing loss was studied using binary logistic regression. Results. On univariate analysis, patients with extensive intratumoral microhemorrhage or fibrosis (p < 0.0001), patients with larger tumors (p < 0.05), and patients 65 years of age or older (p < 0.05) were significantly more likely to have unserviceable hearing at the time of surgery. On multivariate analysis, only patients with extensive intratumoral microhemorrhage or fibrosis had an increased risk of having unserviceable hearing at the time of surgery (OR 3.72, 95% CI 1.3-10; p = 0.01). Older age and tumor size greater than 3 cm were not statistically significant risk factors for hearing loss, controlling for the effect of microhemorrhage and fibrosis. Conclusions. In this study, the authors have demonstrated a correlation between the extent of nonneoplastic histological changes, such as microhemorrhage and fibrosis, and hearing loss. This alternate hypothesis has the potential to explain many of the exceptions to previously described mechanisms of hearing loss in patients with VS. The advent of high-resolution MR imaging technology to identify microhemorrhages may provide a method to screen for patients with VS at risk for hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-393
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Hearing
  • Hearing loss
  • Microhemorrhage
  • Vestibular schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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