Background: The transcanal transpromontorial approach has been introduced to remove vestibular schwannomas. As with other techniques, preservation of the facial nerve (FN) is challenging. This pilot study described FN outcomes of patients preoperatively and postoperatively assessed with electromyography (EMG) and blink reflex (BR). Methods: Between September 2017 and December 2018, 10 patients (5 men; 5 women; mean age, 59.8 years; age range, 25-77 years) underwent removal of vestibular schwannoma via the transcanal transpromontorial approach. FN assessment using EMG/BR and clinical evaluation with the House-Brackmann (HB) grading scale was performed preoperatively and 2 months postoperatively. If facial impairment was present postoperatively, further analysis was performed 6 months after surgery. Results: All 10 patients had normal FN function on preoperative EMG/BR. After 2 months, 4 patients had normal FN function on EMG/BR, 4 patients showed a slight delay of FN responses, 1 patient had moderate dysfunction, and 1 patient had consistent damage. After 6 months, among the 6 patients with a pathologic neurophysiologic study, consistent EMG/BR improvement was shown, with complete recovery in 3 cases. At the last follow-up, 8 patients had HB grade I, 1 patient had HB grade II, and 1 patient had HB grade III in 1, showing progression toward healing in 9 of 10 cases. Conclusions: The transcanal transpromontorial approach is an effective procedure for vestibular schwannoma removal. EMG/BR represents an objective evaluation method to verify FN recovery after surgery and confirms the low impact of this surgical procedure on the FN.
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