Purpose: Tinnitus is a very common symptom of vestibular schwannoma, present in 45 to 80% of patients. We evaluated changes in tinnitus after translabyrinthine microsurgery (TLM) or gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS). Materials and Methods: Among 78 patients with vestibular schwannoma who underwent TLM or GKS at Severance Hospital from 2009-2012, 46 patients with pre- or postoperative tinnitus who agreed to participate were enrolled. Pure tone audiometry, tinnitus handicap inventory (THI), visual analogue scale (VAS) scores for loudness, awareness, and annoyance were measured before and after treatment. Changes of THI and VAS were analysed and compared according to treatment modality, tumour volume, and preoperative residual hearing. Results: In the TLM group (n=27), vestibulocochlear nerves were definitely cut. There was a higher rate of tinnitus improvement in TLM group (52%) than GKS group (16%, p=0.016). The GKS group had a significantly higher rate of tinnitus worsening (74%) than TLM group (11%, p<0.001). Mean scores of THI and VAS scores significantly decreased in the TLM group in contrast to significant increases in the GKS group. Tumor volume and preoperative hearing did not affect the changes in THI or VAS. Conclusion: GKS can save vestibulocochlear nerve continuity but may damage the cochlea, cochlear nerve and can cause worsening tinnitus. In cases where hearing preservation is not intended, microsurgery with vestibulocochlear neurectomy during tumor removal can sometimes relieve or prevent tinnitus.
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