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International Journal of Otolaryngology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 973045, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Diagnosis and Management of Extracranial Head and Neck Schwannomas: A Review of 27 Cases

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan

Received 16 March 2013; Revised 9 April 2013; Accepted 13 April 2013

Academic Editor: Peter S. Roland

Copyright © 2013 Ryuji Yasumatsu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. Clinical records of 27 patients with extracranial head and neck schwannoma were retrospectively reviewed. Methods. Ultrasonography (US) was performed in all cases. Seven patients underwent CT. Twenty-five patients underwent MRI. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) was performed for 12 of the 27 patients. Clinical history, surgical data, and postoperative morbidity were analyzed. Results. The images of US showed a well-defined, hypoechoic, primarily homogeneous solid mass. At CT, only one of 7 cases (14%) was able to suggest the diagnosis of schwannoma. At MRI, twenty of 25 cases (80%) suggested the diagnosis of schwannoma. Only three of 12 cases (25%) displayed a specific diagnosis of schwannoma rendered on FNAC. The distribution of 27 nerves of origin was 10 (37%) vagus nerves, 6 (22%) sympathetic trunks, 5 (19%) cervical plexuses, 3 (11%) brachial plexuses, 2 (7%) hypoglossal nerves, and 1 (4%) accessory nerve. Complete tumor resection was performed in 11 patients, and intracapsular enucleation of the tumor was performed in 16 patients. The rate of nerve palsy was 100 (11/11) and 31% (5/16). Conclusions. MRI is sensitive and specific in the diagnosis of schwannoma. Intracapsular enucleation was an effective and feasible method for preserving the neurological functions.