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Acoustic Neuroma

Updated on March 7, 2014

What is Acoustic Neuroma?

Acoustic neuroma is recognized as a slow-growing benign tumor which can usually be found in the hearing channel of the inner ear. It is also knows as vestibular schwannomas. Two names which both refer to the same condition. This condition can cause issues such as the loss of hearing and the loss of balance, which are both issues that deal with inner ear functions.

If left untreated, acoustic neuroma may spread to the brain which can lead to further complications. Because of the potential dangers that may arise, it is normally recommended that the patient should undergo acoustic neuroma surgery to remove the massive tumor as soon as possible. In this lens, we will talk more about what this condition is and the treatment options that are available.

Acoustic Neuroma Described

This video goes over what we discussed above. It will tell you the basics of what acoustic neuroma is, how it occurs and how to treat it. It features some good visuals that may help you better understand and learn more about this condition and treatments.

Familiarize yourself with Acoustic Neuroma

You should take the time to try to understand all of the options that you have as far as the treatment of acoustic neuroma goes. There are many methods for treating this condition such as surgery and radiation.

Each case of acoustic neuroma is different and unique so it is best to discuss with a physician to know exactly what the most appropriate therapy an affected individual should pursue.

Read on and take a look at the videos to learn more about the treatment options that are available for acoustic neuroma.

Benefits of Neurosurgery

Any type of surgery will be very taxing on your body and should only be considered when absolutely necessary. Surgery around the brain is especially scary to choose to undergo. Doctor are well trained and are able to appropriately diagnose when it is time to look towards surgery as a way to help or eliminate the patients condition. There are many reasons why surgery can be the best option. We have listed a few below.

It can entirely remove the tumor.

Obviously, observing will not accomplish this and radiation may never completely eliminate the tumor. Surgery creates the opportunity to completely remove the tumor in one shot.

The bad adverse reactions of the radiation.

Radiation, as many know can cause severely bad side effects. Hair loss and nausea to name a few.

You can avoid other problems that arise from radiation treatment.

Radiation can result in the inflammation of the growth that can be dangerous to the patient's well being in other ways. It could cause nerve damage, for example. Radiation could also generate a malignancy to the tumor.

These are all great reasons as to why surgery can be selected as the best option of treatment over observation or radiation.

Dr. Issac Yang

In this video, we have Dr. Issac Yang, a doctor that works at UCLA who specializes in acoustic neuromas treatments. He explains how treatments have advanced over time and we are now at the point where we can effectively treat and eliminate the majority of these tumors.

Observing the Growth Rate

There are three major treatment options for acoustic neuromas. These options are observation, radiation and neurosurgery. The first option, the preferred and best case scenario option is observation.

Observation is ideal if the tumor is small which and the growth rate is slow. The growth rate is particularly important to observe because it is usually a good indication as to weather or not the condition will worsen over time and cause damage to the patients hearing or possibly spread to the brain.

The typical "safe" growth rate is said to be under 2.5 mm per year. As long as the tumor is growing less than that rate, the patient should not expect and complications to their hearing or balance. If the growth rate exceeds 2.5 mm per year, it is time to consider one of the other two options which are radiation and surgery.

Richard, 4 days after surgery

This video was made by a man named Richard. At the time of the recording, he was only 4 days past his surgery. As you can see, he had a successful surgery and is not suffering a long recovery time that many may fear when the option of surgery comes up. If you are in a position where you are considering surgery, hearing from people that went through it first hand is a great way to better understand what you will have to go through yourself.

Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma

There are a few symptoms that if noticed, may be signs that you have acoustic neuroma. We will go over these symptoms here. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you get yourself checked out by a doctor right away. When it comes to tumors, it is best to discover and treat them as soon as possible. This is especially true when it comes to tumors that are located so close to the brain.

Symptoms include:

Hearing loss on one side only

This can either be gradual or sudden. By gradual, we mean it can take up to months. If you are having trouble hearing out of one side but not the other, it is a sign that there could be a blockage in that ear. In this case, that blockage could be the tumor.

Tinnitus or the feeling of plugged ears

Tinnitus is the sense of a buzzing or ringing inside the ear. This can be described as something that is similar to when you get water in your ear. Your ear or ears may feel clogged or plugged, or you may hear a faint or not so faint buzzing. this can occur in one or both ears.

Balance issues

Your body uses the fluids in your inner ear to maintain balance. If you are having trouble with your balance, it could be a sign that there is an issue with your inner ear. If there is an issue with your inner ear, that means it could potentially be an acoustic neuroma. You can notice that your balance is decreasing gradually or suddenly. this rate can be closely linked to the rate that the possible tumor is growing as well.

Numbness or pain in the facial area

These tumors grow near some of the facial nerves which can cause weird issues with the face and your ability to control it. If the tumor is interfering with your facial nerves, you can experience numbness or pain on your face. this is difficult to diagnose since the source of the pain is not in the same area that the pain would be occurring at.

Headaches

For a similar reason as you would experience facial pain. the tumor can cause pressure within the head causing headaches or damage nerves which can result in headaches. The headaches can come and go and very in severity.

Just because you are not experiencing all of these issues does not mean you are in the clear. If you notice some of these symptoms, especially the first few that we listed, it is very important that you go to a doctor to get it checked out. Remember, if you do have a tumor, you will want to find and identify it as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of recovery.

Acoustic Neuroma Progress

This video features a man named Rofous 1 year after his surgery. He talks about his progress and recovery after surgery. He requires assistance to be able to hear clearly and he is slowly gaining back his facial functions. The tumor caused nerve damage which he has been trying to gain back since the surgery. Note, the surgery was not the cause of the nerve damage, the tumor was.

Which form of treatment is right?

Acoustic neuroma treatment relies upon the age group and total medical condition of the affected individual. This includes the growth size as well as rate of development. Everyone's case will be different and unique to them so it is impossible to give anyone a proper diagnosis without carefully inspecting the tumor ad its growth rate. Though acoustic neuroma surgery could be high-risk, this has the possibility to remove the growth and eventually cure the illness.

Look for medical advice to assist you to choose what would be the best option to address your problem. Doing any kind of operation can be very delicate, such as acoustic neuroma surgery.

Harley Steet at University College Hospital

Harley Street at UCH Cancer Centre is a world renowned hospital located in the heart of London. Specializing in many forms of cancer it holds international renown as one of the top hospitals in the world dedicated to the treatment of cancer.

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      squidrocks 3 years ago

      I found this lens really interesting and informative. I've never heard of the condition which I find surprising but it's always good to learn about new things and to recognise potential symptoms.