Acoustic Neuromas, also known as vestibular schwannoma, is a slow growing benign tumor on the balance nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain.
This is an uncommon condition, found in roughly 1 in 100,000 people. The most common symptoms include hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in your ear), and vertigo (a feeling of imbalance). Because these symptoms are present with many conditions, it is important to see your doctor if they persist more than a few weeks. Your healthcare provider will make a referral to an ENT surgeon or to a Neurotologist if they feel you need further evaluation. Neurotology is a sub-specialty of otolaryngology (ears, nose, and throat) specializing in the neurological conditions of the ears and brainstem (also referred to as skull base surgery. if an acoustic neuroma is suspected). The neurotologist may conduct a clinical evaluation, hearing and balance tests and imaging studies, such as MRI, to make the diagnosis.
Once diagnosed, there are many options to consider:
Observation with a repeat MRI scan in 6 months. If the scan shows no growth, repeat scanning at annual intervals for 3 years is recommended. If the tumor size is stable, the scan will be repeated after 2 years thereafter. If at any interval the tumor grows, the other treatment options should be considered.
Radiosurgery is an option which ...