Feb 2017 MedicalXpress
A vestibular schwannoma is a benign tumour consisting of connective tissue and nerve tissue. It is still not known what causes it. 1 – 2 people in every 100,000 develop this type of tumour, which usually presses on the vestibular nerve and at the same time damages the auditory nerve. Until now it has not been possible to remove the tumour and simultaneously restore the patient's hearing. This is what Christoph Arnoldner (Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases) and Christian Matula (Department of Neurosurgery) at MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital have now succeeded in doing for the very first time. This operation is also very rare worldwide.
"In an operation lasting approximately nine hours, we managed to remove the benign tumour on the vestibular nerve, which had caused deafness in the patient," explains Arnoldner. "And, by using a special access and measuring the function on the auditory nerve during the operation, we were also able to insert a cochlear implant during the same operation. So the patient is not only cured from the tumour but has also got her hearing back." The patient was a 45-year-old elementary school teacher from the USA. One of the most important elements in this is the ability to measure and display the function of the auditory nerve and its "transmission of stimuli" to the brainstem during the operation. This is done using a measuring device developed by the company MED-EL. This involves using E-BERA (brainstem evoked response audiometry) to stimulate the cochlea with an electrical signal.