Acoustic neuromas

An acoustic neuroma, also called a vestibular schwannoma, is a rare benign tumor of the balance or hearing nerves. It is usually slow growing and expands at its site of origin. The most common first symptom is hearing loss in the tumor ear, ringing in the ear (tinnitus) and problems with balance. The cause is generally unknown, although may be genetic in some cases. If an acoustic tumor becomes large it will push on the surface of the brainstem but not really grow into brain tissue. Continued tumor growth may threaten neurological function and even life.

William Beaumont Hospital employs a multidisciplinary approach for treating acoustic neuromas involving both radiation oncologists and otologists to determine the best course of treatment for each individual patient. Patients undergo extensive hearing testing and imaging studies to determine the optimal treatment plan. The location of the neuroma, the patient's health status and history and the ability to preserve the patient's hearing are all factors which are taken into account when planning treatment. Treatment options include surgical resection, Gamma Knife radiosurgery or fractionated radiation therapy. If a tumor is > 3 cm, surgery would be the first line of treatment recommended. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is often used for residual disease or if or if there is a tumor that has been surgically removed and it has recurred. Other instances when Gamma Knife radiosurgery may be considered would be if a patient is elderly or has other medical conditions that make surgery more of a risk. When acoustic neuromas are present on both the right and left side of the brain, a condition called neurofibromatosis type 2 exists.

Acoustic Neuroma Association
600 Peachtree Parkway
Suite 108
Cumming, GA 30041
Tel: 770-205-8211 877-200-8211
Fax: 770-205-0239/877-202-0239

Neurofibromatosis, Inc. (NF Inc.)
P.O. Box 66884
Chicago, IL 60666
Tel: 630-627-1115 800-942-6825
Gamma Knife vs. Cyberknife