Incidence of Prolonged Systemic Steroid Treatment after Surgery for Acoustic Neuroma and Its Implications

Kenny F. Lin, Claire R. Stewart, Philip E. Steig, Cameron W. Brennan, Philip H. Gutin, Samuel H. Selesnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives To determine the incidence of prolonged postoperative systemic corticosteroid therapy after surgery for acoustic neuroma as well as the indications and associated risk factors that could lead to prolonged steroid administration, and the incidence of steroid-related adverse effects. Study Designs Retrospective chart review. Methods Retrospective chart review of patients undergoing resection of acoustic neuroma between 2010 and 2017 at two tertiary care medical centers. Patient and tumor characteristics, operative approach, hospital length of stay, initial postoperative taper length, number of discrete postoperative steroid courses, and postoperative complications were analyzed. Results There were 220 patients (99 male, 121 female) with an average age of 49.4 (range 16-78). There were 124 left-sided tumors and 96 right-sided tumors. Within the group, 191 tumors were operated through a retrosigmoid approach, 25 tumors through a translabyrinthine approach, and 4 tumors with a combined retrosigmoid-translabyrinthine approach under the same anesthetic. In total, 35 (15.9%) patients received an extended initial course of postoperative systemic steroids, defined as a taper longer than 18 days. Twenty six (11.8%) patients received additional courses of systemic steroids after the initial postoperative taper. There were 5 (2.3%) patients who required an extended initial taper as well as additional courses of steroids. Aseptic meningitis, often manifested as headache, was the most common indication for additional steroids (14 cases of prolonged taper and 17 cases of additional courses). None of the patient or tumor factors including age, gender, side, size, and approach were statistically significantly associated with either a prolonged initial steroid taper or additional courses of steroids. An extended hospital length of stay was associated with a prolonged initial steroid taper (p = 0.03), though the initial taper length was not predictive of additional courses of steroids. The cumulative number of days on steroids was associated with need for additional procedures (p < 0.01) as well as steroid-related side effects (p = 0.05). The administration of steroids was not found to significantly improve outcomes in postoperative facial paresis. Steroid-related complications were uncommon, seen in 9.26% of patients receiving steroids, with the most common being psychiatric side effects such as agitation, anxiety, and mood lability. Conclusions Systemic corticosteroids are routinely administered postoperatively for patients undergoing craniotomy for the resection of acoustic neuromas. In a review of 220 patients operated by a single neurotologist, no patient or tumor factors were predictive of requiring prolonged initial steroid taper or additional courses of steroids. The cumulative number of days on systemic steroids was associated with undergoing additional procedures and steroid-related side effects. The most common indications for prolonged or additional steroids were aseptic meningitis, cerebrospinal fluid leak, and facial paresis. Additional steroids for postoperative facial paresis did not significantly improve outcomes. Patient-reported steroid-related complications were infrequent and were most commonly psychiatric including agitation, anxiety, and mood lability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-568
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurological Surgery, Part B: Skull Base
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 13 2018


  • acoustic neuroma
  • postoperative complications
  • systemic steroids
  • vestibular schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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