Robotic Nerve Sheath Tumor Resection With Intraoperative Neuromonitoring: Case Series and Systematic Review

Brian P. Curry, Reinier Alvarez, Brigitte C. Widemann, Matthew Johnson, Piyush K. Agarwal, Tanya Lehky, Vladimir Valera, Prashant Chittiboina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Retroperitoneal nerve sheath tumors present a surgical challenge. Despite potential advantages, robotic surgery for these tumors has been limited. Identifying and sparing functional nerve fascicles during resection can be difficult, increasing the risk of neurological morbidity. OBJECTIVE: To review the literature regarding robotic resection of retroperitoneal nerve sheath tumors and retrospectively analyze our experience with robotic resection of these tumors using a manual electromyographic probe to identify and preserve functional nerve fascicles. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the clinical courses of 3 patients with retroperitoneal tumors treated at the National Institutes of Health by a multidisciplinary team using the da Vinci Xi system. Parent motor nerve fascicles were identified intraoperatively with a bipolar neurostimulation probe inserted through a manual port, permitting tumor resection with motor fascicle preservation. RESULTS: Two patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 underwent surgery for retroperitoneal neurofibromas located within the iliopsoas muscle, and 1 patient underwent surgery for a pelvic sporadic schwannoma. All tumors were successfully resected, with no complications or postoperative neurological deficits. Preoperative symptoms were improved or resolved in all patients. CONCLUSION: Resection of retroperitoneal nerve sheath tumors confers an excellent prognosis, although their deep location and proximity to vital structures present unique challenges. Robotic surgery with intraoperative neurostimulation mapping is safe and effective for marginal resection of histologically benign or atypical retroperitoneal nerve sheath tumors, providing excellent visibility, increased dexterity and precision, and reduced risk of neurological morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalOperative Neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 22 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2021. All rights reserved.


  • Nerve sheath tumors
  • Neurofibroma
  • Neurosurgery
  • Retroperitoneal
  • Robot
  • Schwannoma
  • da Vinci


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