Management of patients with schwannomatosis: Report of six cases and review of the literature

Jason H. Huang, Scott L. Simon, Seema Nagpal, Peter T. Nelson, Eric L. Zager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Background Schwannomatosis is a rare tumor syndrome characterized by the presence of multiple schwannomas without the stigmata of neurofibromatosis (NF) Type 1 or 2. To better understand the natural history and clinical management of the syndrome, a retrospective review was conducted of patients diagnosed with schwannomatosis over an 11-year period at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center (UPMC). Methods Between 1990 and 2001, 131 patients underwent surgery for resection of spinal or peripheral nerve schwannomas in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Among the 131 patients, there were 6 who had two or more pathologically proven schwannomas without radiographic or clinical evidence of vestibular schwannomas. The hospital charts, clinic notes, radiology films, operative reports, pathology slides, and reports from all 6 patients were retrospectively reviewed. Results The patient population consisted of 6 patients with a mean age of 48.7 (3 male: 3 female). All patients had enhanced brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans that were negative for vestibular schwannomas. Ophthalmological and general physical examinations did not reveal any findings suggestive of NF. There was no family history of NF or schwannomatosis. The locations of the schwannomas included intraspinal (multiple sites), paraspinal, brachial plexus, femoral nerve, sciatic nerve, calf, forearm, retroperitoneum, and middle cranial/infratemporal fossa region. The common presenting symptoms included paresthesias, palpable mass, pain, or weakness. All 6 patients underwent surgical resection of symptomatic lesions. Conclusions For patients with schwannomatosis, surgery is indicated for symptomatic lesions, while asymptomatic tumors are followed conservatively. Because these patients are at increased risk for developing multiple schwannomas, we recommend regular surveillance and offer genetic counseling even though the pattern of inheritance is unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-361
Number of pages9
JournalSurgical Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Xiao-han Chen for her assistance with the preparation of the figures and Dr. David Brooks for his input. Dr. Jason Huang is supported by NIH grant NS46170-01 and an AANS Codman Award. Seema Nagpal is supported by a fellowship from for the Sharpe Foundation.


  • Schwannoma
  • neurofibromatosis Type 1
  • neurofibromatosis Type 2
  • peripheral nerve tumors
  • schwannomatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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