Lipomas of the internal auditory canal and cerebellopontine angle

Douglas C. Bigelow, Marc D. Eisen, Peter G. Smith, David M. Yousem, Richard S. Levine, Robert K. Jackler, David W. Kennedy, Mark J. Kotapka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate lipomas of the internal auditory canal (IAC) and cerebellopontine angle (CPA). Study Design: Retrospective review. Methods: Review of a multi-institutional series of 17 lipomas of the IAC/CPA, combined with a Medline review of the 67 cases reported in the world literature. Results: This series of 17 IAC/CPA lipomas is the largest reported series to date, bringing the total number of documented cases to 84. There appears to be a nearly 2:1 male to female predominance. Sixty percent were left-sided lesions, and three were bilateral. Hearing loss, dizziness, and tinnitus were the most common presenting symptoms. Surgical resection was performed in 52 (62%) of these lesions; however, total tumor removal was accomplished in only 17 (33%), which is most likely because of the fact that these tumors tend to have a poorly defined matrix and a dense adherence to neurovascular structures. Sixty-eight percent of patients experienced a new deficit postoperatively, 11% were unchanged, and only 19% improved with no new deficit. Only one documented case of tumor growth was identified; however, the reported follow-up was short (average, less than 3 years). Conclusion: With the magnetic resonance imaging techniques now available, lipomas can be reliably differentiated from other masses within the CPA and IAC, so histopathologic diagnosis is rarely necessary. Because of the potential for significant morbidity with resection of these lesions, we believe that conservative follow-up is the best treatment option for patients with these rare lesions. Surgery is indicated only when significant progressive or disabling symptoms are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1459-1469
Number of pages11
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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