Stereotactic radiosurgery of cavernous sinus meningiomas as an addition or alternative to microsurgery

Christopher M. Duma, L. Dade Lunsford, Douglas Kondziolka, Griffith R. Harsh, John C. Flickinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

238 Scopus citations


TO EVALUATE THE response of cavernous sinus meningiomas to stereotactic radiosurgery, we reviewed our 54-month experience with 34 patients. All patients underwent radiosurgery with a 201-source cobalt-60 gamma unit. Twenty-eight patients (82%) had previous histological confirmation of a meningioma (1 to 5 cranial base craniotomies per patient); 6 (18%) were treated on the basis of neuroimaging criteria alone. The single-fraction radiation tumor margin dose (10 to 20 Gy) was designed to conform to the irregular tumor volumes in all patients. The maximum radiation dose to the optic nerve or tract was reduced to 9 Gy in 31 patients. No patient had tumor growth (100% tumor control) during the follow-up interval (median, 26 mo). Tumor regression was observed in 56% of patients imaged at an average of 18 months. Eight patients (24%) improved clinically at follow-up examinations. Four patients developed new or worsened cranial nerve deficits during the follow-up interval; two had subsequent full improvement. No patient developed an endocrinopathy or new extraocular muscle paresis. Stereotactic radiosurgery, using multiple isocenter dosimetry facilitated by the gamma unit, is an accurate, safe, and effective technique to prevent the growth of tumors involving the cavernous sinus. Despite the proximity of such tumors to adjacent cranial nerves, complications were rare. The maximum length of hospital stay was 36 hours, and all patients returned to their preoperative employment status within 3 to 5 days. Although even longer follow-up is required, stereotactic radiosurgery using the gamma knife technique was found to be a low-morbidity alternative to aggressive microsurgical removal of small to moderate-sized tumors of the cavernous sinus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-705
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Cavernous sinus
  • Meningioma
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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