A prospective study of the consequences of the wait-and-see policy in patients with neuroradiologic diagnostic evidence of having vestibular schwannoma was conducted in a series of 123 patients (127 tumors) over a 20-year period, from 1973 to 1993. The mean follow-up period was 3.4 years, mean annual growth rate was 3.2 mm/year, mean annual volume growth rate was 0.72 ml/year, and mean annual relative growth rate was 41%. Tumor growth was observed in 90 (74%) patients (94 tumors), no growth was seen in 23 (18%) patients (23 tumors), and negative tumor growth was seen in 10 (8%) patients (10 tumors). Surgery due to tumor growth was performed in 35 (28%) patients (35 tumors), 7 (6%) patients (7 tumors) were treated with γ-radiation and/or shunt insertion, 7 (6%) patients died of brain stem herniation induced by tumor compression, 9 (7%) patients died of non-tumor-related causes, 28 patients were classified as candidates for hearing preservation surgery, and 21 (75%) patients lost their candidacy during the observation period due to tumor growth and/or deterioration of hearing. The results may limit indications for allocation of patients with vestibular schwannoma to the wait-and-see group. © 1995, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.
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