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Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic Neuroma - What it is

​An acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma) is a non-cancerous growth that occurs near the facial nerve. They are slow-growing and may remain the same size for years for some patients. In a small number of patients, the tumour becomes smaller with time.

Acoustic Neuroma - Symptoms

​Signs vary and include:

  • One-sided deafness, with noise in the affected ear (tinnitus). The deafness may be gradual or sudden and
    is experienced by 90% of patients
  • Inability to understand speech i.e. one can hear sounds but cannot understand what is being said
  • Unsteady gait and poor balance
  • Facial numbness and weakness
  • Swallowing problems

Acoustic Neuroma - How to prevent?

Acoustic Neuroma - Causes and Risk Factors

​Those with rare genetic defects e.g. tumours growing on nerve tissues (neurobromatosis) may be at a higher risk.

Acoustic Neuroma - Diagnosis

​Auditory tests can reveal loss of hearing and the inability to understand speech.

A Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan can show the presence of an acoustic neuroma, even those that are still in the internal ear canal (Figure 1).

Acoustic Neuroma - Treatments

Surgery
Surgery may be required for patients with very large tumours causing severe brain compression and increased brain pressure.

A neurosurgeon and sometimes a ear, nose and throat surgeon will determine if surgery is suitable, depending on the size and location of the tumour, and the health of the patient.

During surgery, fat or muscle may be taken from the abdomen or thigh to close the wound. After surgery, the
patient will usually spend one to several days in the intensive care unit for monitoring and treatment.

Depending on the location of the tumour, side effects of the surgery may include hearing loss, facial weakness, paralysis, double vision, swallowing problems, mouth dryness, and unsteadiness.

The likelihood of unexpected complications is generally low but include infection, bleeding, stroke, seizures, paralysis of limbs, coma and death.

Radiation Therapy
Smaller tumours are usually treated by radiation. A high and precise dose of radiation is aimed at the tumour, with no or low damage to surrounding brain structures.

Acoustic Neuroma - Preparing for surgery

Acoustic Neuroma - Post-surgery care

  • Updated on 2020-03-31T16:00:00Z
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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