J Reconstr Microsurg 2016; 32(05): 371-377
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1571798
Original Article: WSRM 2015 Scientific Paper
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Neurological Deficits before and after Surgical Resection of Schwannomas in the Upper Extremities

Hideyuki Mizushima
1   Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Japan Community Health Care Organization (JCHO), Chukyo Hospital, Nagoya, Japan
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

14 September 2015

17 December 2015

Publication Date:
12 February 2016 (online)


Background Schwannomas are the most common primary solitary tumor among peripheral nerve sheath tumors. The occurrence of transient or permanent neurological deficits after schwannoma resection is more common than previously recognized. Here, the neurological deficits before and after surgical resection of schwannomas in the upper extremities were examined.

Methods The study included 43 upper-extremity schwannomas that were treated surgically between January 2000 and July 2013. The neurological status of each patient (such as pain, sensory disturbances, and motor disturbances) was evaluated preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at the final postoperative follow-up.

Results Out of the 43 cases, 34 cases exhibited neurological symptoms before the operation, and in 31 of the 34 cases, neurological symptoms were either reduced or disappeared after the surgery. In 20 of the 43 cases, new neurological deficits that had not been observed preoperatively were noted immediately postoperatively; the newly acquired neurological deficits disappeared over time in 5 of the 20 cases. Significantly, more newly acquired neurological deficits remained in cases where the tumor was located in the upper arm and elbow than in cases where the tumor was located in the distal forearm.

Conclusion New neurological deficits occurred after surgery in about half of the cases. This ratio was higher than expected, suggesting that schwannoma resection is not always a complication-free operation. Therefore, patients should be informed preoperatively about the possibility of neurological deficits. Furthermore, extreme care should be taken not to damage the affected and uninvolved nerves during surgery.