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Solitary benign peripheral-nerve tumours. Review of 32 years' experience

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Solitary benign peripheral-nerve tumours are rare and may be difficult to diagnose correctly. Surgical excision may increase the patient's symptoms and may not be necessary. We have reviewed the presentation, clinical findings and histology of 104 solitary tumours presenting at one centre between 1959 and 1990. Male patients predominated for both schwannoma and neurofibroma. There was considerable but variable delay before presentation; 94% of patients complained primarily of a mass and less than half had pain or paraesthesia. The correct diagnosis had been made in only a few cases before operation, and the incidence of neurological symptoms doubled after exploration. We emphasise the need for vigilance, accurate preoperative diagnosis, and careful surgery.

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