An acoustic neuroma – also known as a vestibular schwannoma – is a slow-growing, benign tumor located on the vestibular cochlear nerve, which is the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. The vestibular cochlear nerve is located behind the ear, right under the brain.
Although an acoustic neuroma is benign, it can damage several important nerves as it grows and should be removed.
Symptoms vary depending on the size and location of the tumor but can include:
If the tumor is large, it may cause facial numbness or weakness. This kind of tumor can also cause permanent hearing loss.
Treatment options for acoustic neuromas include observation, radiation, or surgery. Since these types of tumors are typically slow-growing, it may be treated using Gamma Knife technology, a non-invasive procedure that focuses radiation directly on the tumor to halt its growth. Another option is to remove part of the tumor using minimally invasive surgery. However, when it is necessary to totally remove the lesion, traditional surgery may be recommended.
Tumor resection (removal) is performed by the Cranial Base Surgery team that includes Neurosurgery, Neuro-Otology, and Head & Neck Surgery.