Gamma Knife surgery of vestibular schwannomas: longitudinal changes in vestibular function and measurement of the Dizziness Handicap Inventory.

P. Ashley Wackym, Maureen T. Hannley, Christina L. Runge-Samuelson, Jamie Jensen, Yong Ran Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


OBJECT: Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is one of the methods available to treat vestibular schwannomas (VSs), in addition to microsurgical resection; however, clear information regarding balance function outcomes and the impact of treatment on patients' quality of life over time remains an important clinical need. The purpose of this study was to assess the longitudinal balance outcomes and Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) following GKS for VSs. METHODS: This was a prospective clinical study of balance outcomes in all patients with VSs treated in the Acoustic Neuroma and Skull Base Surgery Program at a tertiary referral center by the senior author and the Gamma Knife team between June 2000 and May 2008. The main outcome measures included preoperative vestibular testing and postoperative caloric testing performed at 6-month intervals to determine vestibular function. The DHI questionnaires were administered retrospectively to assess the impact of GKS on self-perceived disability. RESULTS: Between June 2000 and May 2008, 55 sporadic VSs were treated. There was a >or= 60-month follow-up available in 27 of these patients, >or= 48 months in 32, >or= 36 months in 38, >or= 24 months in 43, >or= 12 months in 51, and >or= 6 months in 54 (1 patient was excluded from the analysis because the follow-up was < 6 months). Various patterns of changes in vestibular function were observed in either positive or negative directions. A significant difference in total DHI score was seen only in the elderly (> 65 years old) patients pre-GKS compared with post-GKS (t = 1.34, p = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Longitudinal changes in vestibular function occur over time, with the largest changes seen in the first 6 months after treatment. Potential for clinical intervention, such as vestibular rehabilitation therapy, exists during this interval; however, larger cohorts must be studied to determine the timing and efficacy of this intervention. The statistically significant improvement in the DHI score in the patient cohort > 65 years old treated with GKS suggests that this group may benefit from this option when considering the symptom of dizziness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Volume109 Suppl
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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