Our East Texas neurosurgeons specialize in treating acoustic neuromas and patients can depend on us for acoustic neuroma treatments. Learn more about acoustic neuromas and explore treatment options with our experienced team.
Tyler Neurosurgeons: Experienced Tumor Specialists
Vestibular Schwannoma Treatment Center in Tyler
An acoustic neuroma, also called vestibular schwannoma, is a rare, benign tumor that develops over time due to an overproduction of Schwann cells. The tumor arises in the vestibular nerve and typically forms in the the area of the brain where the auditory (hearing) nerve enters the opening of the skull between the brain and inner ear. Schwann cells work to support nerve fibers by wrapping around them.
The 2 Types of Acoustic Neuromas
These tumors only affect one ear and are the most common type of acoustic neuromas. Symptoms may develop at any age but typically develop anywhere between 30 and 60 years. Most unilateral vestibular schwannomas are not hereditary and form sporadically.
These vestibular schwannomas affect both hearing nerves. The condition is typically inherited and is associated with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis-2 (NF2).
Common Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma
Although symptoms may vary due to the type, severity and location of the tumor, these are the most symptoms typically associated with acoustic neuroma:
- Hearing loss, especially on one side
- Inability to hear high frequency sounds
- Ringing in the ear (Tinnitus)
- Loss of balance
- Facial numbness
Causes of Acoustic Neuroma
Acoustic neuroma is most associated with continuous exposure to loud noise (such as music). Additionally, neck or face radiation may also lead to this condition many years after constant exposure. Individuals who have the genetic condition called neurofibromatosis type 2 run a higher risk of developing acoustic neuroma.
Acoustic Neuroma Diagnosis in East Texas
What Treatment Options are Available to Tyler Neurosurgical Patients?
Due to its resemblance to other ear conditions, acoustic neuromas may be difficult to diagnose. Many times, symptoms will be subtle and not immediately apparent. Preliminary diagnostic procedures involves taking medical history and scans of the head through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing, which uses magnetic fields and radio waves to develop comprehensive pictures of the brain. A hearing test is also performed on the patient. Following this initial test, a Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) may be conducted. This is a test which provides detailed information on brain wave activity as a response to clicks and tones.
Both surgical and non-surgical treatment options exist for acoustic neuroma. Some can be removed completely without surgery and many are usually small enough that they may not require immediate treatment.
Various factors determine which option is best, including:
- Size of tumor
- Patient’s age
- General health preferences
The surgical approach to remove acoustic neuromas will usually involve a craniotomy using a suboccipital, translabyrinthine approach or middle fossa approach. Another common option is radiosurgery, which involves using radiation to reduce the size or limit the growth of the tumor.
For patients with less severe and smaller tumors, both surgery and radiation therapy are effective approaches. Additionally, we may recommend radiation therapy to treat older patients.
No matter which path you choose, we can assure you that our experienced neurosurgeons at Tyler Neurosurgical Associates are well trained in helping you weigh the pros and cons of the various treatment options to remove acoustic neuromas.
Expert Acoustic Neuroma Specialists in East Texas
At Tyler Neurosurgical Associates, we are committed to providing you with quality service and care. Our primary location is in Tyler, Texas, however, we also treat patients in East Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Contact our brain specialists today!