Surgical management of giant presacral schwannoma: Systematic review of published cases and meta-analysis

Zach Pennington, Erick M. Westbroek, A. Karim Ahmed, Ethan Cottrill, Daniel Lubelski, Matthew L. Goodwin, Daniel M. Sciubba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Giant presacral schwannomas are rare sacral tumors found in less than 1 of every 40,000 hospitalizations. Current management of these tumors is based solely upon case reports and small case series. In this paper the authors report the results of a systematic review of the available English literature on presacral schwannoma, focused on identifying the influence of tumor size, tumor morphology, surgical approach, and extent of resection (EOR) on recurrencefree survival and postoperative complications. METHODS The medical literature (PubMed and EMBASE) was queried for reports of surgically managed sacral schwannoma, either involving 2 or more contiguous vertebral levels or with a diameter. 5 cm. Tumor size and morphology, surgical approach, EOR, intraoperative and postoperative complications, and survival data were recorded. RESULTS Seventy-six articles were included, covering 123 unique patients (mean age 44.1 } 1.4 years, 50.4% male). The most common presenting symptoms were leg pain (28.7%), lower back pain (21.3%), and constipation (15.7%). Most surgeries used an open anterior-only (40.0%) or posterior-only (30%) approach. Postoperative complications occurred in 25.6% of patients and local recurrence was noted in 5.4%. En bloc resection significantly improved progression-free survival relative to subtotal resection (p = 0.03). No difference existed between en bloc and gross-total resection (GTR; p = 0.25) or among the surgical approaches (p = 0.66). Postoperative complications were more common following anterior versus posterior approaches (p = 0.04). Surgical blood loss was significantly correlated with operative duration and tumor volume on multiple linear regression (both p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS Presacral schwannoma can reasonably be treated with either en bloc or piecemeal GTR. The approach should be dictated by lesion morphology, and recurrence is infrequent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-722
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


  • Oncology
  • Presacral tumor
  • Progression-free survival
  • Schwannoma
  • giant schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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