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About Acoustic Neuroma

An acoustic neuroma is a tumor in the lining of the nerve that connects the inner ear with the brain. On the basis of each patient’s individual needs, the neurosurgeons at Columbia’s Skull Base Tumor Center choose among the treatment options: observation, stereotactic radiotherapy or surgical removal.

Acoustic neuromas are benign tumors, and most grow very slowly. Since they are benign, acoustic neuromas do not invade nearby tissue or spread elsewhere in the body. However, depending on their size and location, they have the potential to cause severe symptoms.

Acoustic neuromas arise in the lining of the eighth cranial nerve. This nerve carries information about hearing and balance, and the tumor can disrupt the transmission of this information. The tumor may also interfere with the seventh cranial nerve, which controls facial muscles and runs alongside the eighth cranial nerve through a small bony channel. Most acoustic neuromas begin growing inside this channel, and a growing tumor may compress the seventh cranial nerve against the bony walls.

Medium- and large-sized acoustic neuromas expand out of the bony channel. The end of the tumor free of the channel can grow larger than the end inside the channel, so such tumors have a pear shape. The larger end of the “pear” may compress the trigeminal nerve, causing facial pain. It may also compress the brainstem and cerebellum, causing hydrocephalus or interfering with vital functions.

Acoustic neuromas are also known as acoustic neurinomas or vestibular schwannomas.

 

 

To hear Dr. Michael Sisti discussing acoustic neuromas, please see the video below.

patient journey

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