JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Trends in the management of vestibular schwannomas at Johns Hopkins 1997-2007.

Laryngoscope 2010 January
OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: To assess trends in the management of unilateral vestibular schwannomas over an 11-year period and to identify disease- and provider-related influences.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

METHODS: Subjects presented to the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the Department of Neurosurgery for management of unilateral vestibular schwannoma from 1997 through 2007, with at least two visits within the first year of presentation. The proportion of patients for whom initial management consisted of observation, surgical resection, or radiation therapy was determined, and the relative influence of study year, patient age, hearing status, and tumor size was analyzed.

RESULTS: Over the study period there was an increase in the proportion of cases that were observed with follow-up scanning (10.5% to 28.0%) and recommended for radiation (0% to 4.0%), whereas the proportion of operated cases declined (89.5% to 68.0%). There were no changes in mean age or hearing status at diagnosis, but mean tumor size declined significantly. Compared to those undergoing surgery, patients choosing observation and radiation therapy were on average 11.7 and 4.5 years older, respectively. Tumors that were surgically removed were on average 11.6 mm larger than those that were observed. The increasing frequency over time of observation relative to surgery was significant even after controlling for age, hearing status, and tumor size.

CONCLUSIONS: Among patients managed by our center, there has been a significant shift in management of vestibular schwannomas over the last decade, with increasing tendency towards observation. This trend implies changing provider philosophy and patient expectations.

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