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 ::  Abstract
 ::  Introduction
 ::  Case Report
 ::  Discussion
 ::  Conclusions
 ::  References
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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 213-215

Normal pressure hydrocephalus after gamma knife radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma

1 Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
2 Diagnostic Radiology, National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
3 Neurosurgery, National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

Date of Submission08-Jan-2010
Date of Decision17-May-2010
Date of Acceptance19-May-2010
Date of Web Publication23-Aug-2010

Correspondence Address:
T A Mohammed
Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore General Hospital
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.68634

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 :: Abstract 

Vestibular schwannomas are not uncommon, and gamma knife radiosurgery is one of the treatment options for symptomatic tumors. Hydrocephalus is a complication of gamma knife treatment of vestibular schwannoma, though the mechanism of the development of hydrocephalus remains controversial. We present an unusual case of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) after gamma knife radiosurgery of a vestibular schwannoma in which the timeline of events strongly suggests that gamma knife played a contributory role in the development of the hydrocephalus. This is probably the first case of NPH post radiosurgery with normal cerebrospinal fluid protein. Communicating hydrocephalus should be treated with placement of shunt while non-communicating hydrocephalus can be treated with third ventriculostomy. Frequent monitoring and early intervention post radiosurgery is highly recommended to prevent irreversible cerebral damage.

Keywords: Acoustic schwannoma, gamma knife surgery, normal pressure hydrocephalus

How to cite this article:
Mohammed T A, Ahuja M S, Ju S S, Thomas J. Normal pressure hydrocephalus after gamma knife radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma. J Postgrad Med 2010;56:213-5

How to cite this URL:
Mohammed T A, Ahuja M S, Ju S S, Thomas J. Normal pressure hydrocephalus after gamma knife radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 Dec 6];56:213-5. Available from:

 :: Introduction Top

Hydrocephalus is an uncommon and controversial complication of gamma knife radiosurgery for vestibular schwannomas. We present a rare case of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) after gamma knife radiosurgery of a vestibular schwannoma in which the timeline of events strongly suggests that gamma knife played a contributory role in the development of hydrocephalus.

 :: Case Report Top

A 63-year-old previously healthy woman presented with sudden onset hearing loss in left ear. Her neurological examination revealed left sensorineural deafness. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study [Figure 1] demonstrated a 1.5 x 1.4 cm enhancing mass that was closely associated with the left vestibular nerve, with extension into the left internal auditory canal causing widening of porus acousticus. The appearance was consistent with vestibular schwannoma. After reviewing options, the patient opted for gamma knife radiosurgery and she received 15 Gy of radiation to her acoustic schwannoma. One year after the gamma knife procedure, the patient presented with triad of NPH. Another MR scan was obtained, which demonstrated severe ventriculomegaly, with enlargement of the lateral, third, and fourth ventricles [Figure 2]. No intraventricular point of obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow was identified. The 1.5 ΄ 1.4 cm vestibular schwannoma was again demonstrated. A lumbar puncture procedure was performed, the opening pressure was 16 cm of water (14-18 cm of water) and CSF demonstrated a normal protein level of 0.3 g/l (0.1-0.4g/l). White blood cells were absent and glucose levels were 3.8 mmol/l (capillary sugar 5.6mmol/l). Gram smear and culture results were negative, and there was no clinical evidence of infection. A ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed with normalization of gait and improvement in memory over six weeks.
Figure 1 :MRI brain with gadolinium coronal; Pre radiosurgery

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Figure 2 :MRI brain with gadolinium, coronal; Post radiosurgery

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 :: Discussion Top

Cerebellopontine-angle (CP-angle) tumors account for about 8-10% of all intracranial tumors. [1] Acoustic neuromas account for 80-90% of all CP-angle tumors. [1],[2],[3] Among the non-acoustic neuromas, meningiomas account for about 60% all CP-angle tumors with; epidermoid cysts, cholesteatomata, and glioma accounting for the rest. [4] Hydrocephalus is a known complication of an acoustic schwannoma, occurring in approximately 14% of cases and in 4-6% of cases after gamma knife treatment. [5],[6] Although it has been reported that gamma knife radiosurgery may contribute to the development of hydrocephalus, a causal relationship has not been established and remains controversial. [6],[7],[8],[9],[10] The time course of events in this case suggests a contributory role of gamma knife treatment in the development or exacerbation of hydrocephalus. Indeed, in the few reported cases in which a timeline is documented, the time course of events is similar, with hydrocephalus developing four to 18 months after radiosurgery. [6],[7]

Our patient did not have elevated CSF protein level; it has been proposed that communicating hydrocephalus accompanying an acoustic schwannoma is caused by tumor necrosis, with subsequent elevation of CSF protein concentration. Elevated CSF protein levels are thought to then obstruct CSF resorption at the level of the arachnoid granulations. [5] These events are reported to occur in acoustic schwannomas without radiosurgical treatment, though radiosurgery may exacerbate these events in some patients.

Hydrocephalus after a gamma knife procedure is an infrequent event and likely reflects subtle differences in the tumor rather than differences in radiosurgical technique. It is generally accepted that vestibular schwannomas demonstrate variable growth rates. [11] Our case is unusual with regards to the small size of tumor, normal CSF protein developing NPH which has not been reported to date. The incidence of hydrocephalus, including nonobstructive hydrocephalus, has been shown to be greater with larger tumors. [12] Acoustic schwannomas typically present in the sixth decade of life. [12] Although histological examination is not available in such cases, tumor necrosis and hydrocephalus may arise from faster-growing tumors, possibly correlating with patient age. Although not all studies corroborate, two of them suggest that faster growth rates are seen in younger female patients. [13] Radiosurgery does play an important role in the development of hydrocephalus, however it is independent of the dose of radiotherapy [14] and till date, the mechanism of development of hydrocephalus remains controversial. [15] Faster growth rates and larger tumors are likely at increased risk for post-treatment tumor necrosis and the development of hydrocephalus.

Once MR features are consistent with communicating hydrocephalus and CSF pressure is normal, as in our case, a ventriculo-peritoneal or caval shunt should be the treatment of choice. [15] However, third ventriculostomy is an option for the treatment of a non-communicating hydrocephalus. [16]

 :: Conclusions Top

We presented a rare case of normal pressure hydrocephalus with clinical and MR evidence after gamma knife treatment of acoustic schwannoma. Gamma knife treatment may exacerbate the development of hydrocephalus in some cases of acoustic schwannoma. However, the underlying mechanism is still unclear. Close monitoring for development of hydrocephalus after gamma knife surgery is essential to prevent irreversible cerebral damage.

 :: References Top

1.Lalwani AK. Meningiomas, Epidermoids, and other nonacoustic tumors of the cerebellopontine angle. Otolaryngol Clin North Am 1992;25:707-28.  Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Brackmann DE, Kwartler JA. A review of acoustic tumors 1983-1988. Am J Otol 1990;11:216-32.  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Tekkφk IH, Sόzer T, Erbengi A. Non-acoustic tumors of the cerebellopontine angle. Neurosurg Rev 1992;15:117-23.  Back to cited text no. 3      
4.Mallucci CL, Ward V, Carney AS, O'Donoghue GM, Robertson I. Clinical features and outcomes in patients with non-acoustic cerebellopontine angle tumors. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1999;66:768-71.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Pirouzmand F, Tator CH, Rutka J. Management of hydrocephalus associated with vestibular schwannoma and other cerebellopontine angle tumors. Neurosurgery 1995;48:1246-53.  Back to cited text no. 5      
6.Atlas MD, Perez de Tagle JR, Cook JA. Evolution of the management of hydrocephalus associated with acoustic neuroma. Laryngoscope 1996;106:204-6.  Back to cited text no. 6      
7.Thomsen J, Tos M, Bψrgesen SE. Gamma knife: Hydrocephalus as a complication of stereotactic radiosurgical treatment of an acoustic neuroma. Am J Otol 1990;11:330-3.  Back to cited text no. 7      
8.Linskey ME, Lunsford LD, Flickinger JC. Stereotactic radiosurgery for acoustic tumors. Neurosurg Clin N Am 1992;3:191-205.  Back to cited text no. 8      
9.Hayhurst C, Dhir J, Dias PS. Stereotactic radiosurgery and vestibular schwannoma: Hydrocephalus associated with the development of a secondary arachnoid cyst: A report of two cases and review of the literature. Br J Neurosurg 2005;19:178-81.  Back to cited text no. 9      
10.Roche PH, Ribeiro T, Soumare O. Hydrocephalus and vestibular schwannomas treated by Gamma Knife surgery. Neurochirurgie 2004;50:345-9.  Back to cited text no. 10      
11.van Leeuwen JP, Cremers CW, Thewissen NP. Acoustic neuroma: Correlation among tumor size, symptoms, and patient age. Laryngoscope 1995;105:701-7.  Back to cited text no. 11      
12.Myrseth E, Pedersen PH, Moller P, Lund-Johansen M. Treatment of vestibular schwannomas. Why, when and how? Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2007;149:647-60.  Back to cited text no. 12      
13.Nutik SL, Babb MJ. Determinants of tumor size and growth in vestibular schwannoma. J Neurosurg 2001;4:922-6.  Back to cited text no. 13      
14.Sughrue ME, Yang I, Han SJ, Aranda D, Kane AJ, Amoils M, et al. Non-audiofacial morbidity after Gamma Knife surgery for vestibular schwannoma. Neurosurg Focus 2009;27:E4.  Back to cited text no. 14      
15.Roche PH, Khalil M, Soumare O, Regis J. Hydrocephalus and vestibular schwannomas: Considerations about the impact of gamma knife radiosurgery. Prog Neurol Surg 2008;21:200-6.  Back to cited text no. 15      
16.Hayhurst C, Javadpour M, O'Brien DF, Mallucci CL. The role of endoscopic third ventriculostomy in the management of hydrocephalus associated with cerebellopontine angle tumor. Acta Neurochir 2006;148:1147-50.  Back to cited text no. 16      


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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