Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuroma, synonymous with vestibular schwannoma, is a benign tumor of the balance nerve (the 8th cranial nerve). While hearing loss is the most common symptom that leads to diagnosis (through an MRI of the brain), dizziness can occur as well, and dysfunction of the balance nerve is common. Since these tumors are benign (non-cancerous), but located in an important and hard to reach area deep in the head, treatment is tailored for each patient. Treatment decisions depend on many factors, including: overall health status, hearing status, symptoms like dizziness, size of the tumor, tumor characteristics, and patient preferences. Currently, treatment options include observation (serial MRI scans to follow the tumor), stereotactic radiation, and microsurgical resection. Surgery can be accomplished by taking several different routes to the tumor, including retrosigmoid (aka suboccipital), translabyrinthine, and middle fossa (aka AnchorAnchorsubtemporal) approaches.