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Acoustic Neuroma

Treating Acoustic Neuroma

Treatment options for acoustic neuroma depend on a variety of considerations such as the patient’s age, health, medical history and tolerance for treatments, and the size and location of the tumor and its expected progress. Treatments primarily involve surgical removal, stereotactic radio surgery (radiation) and monitoring.

Conventional surgery is the most common treatment for acoustic neuroma, but the approach depends on the size of the tumor and the amount of hearing loss. Very small tumors often can be removed while preserving hearing. Larger tumors may have already damaged nerves and in some cases, surgery can worsen the condition because affected nerves may also have to be removed with the tumor. However, surgery is the treatment option of choice if the symptoms become too severe, or the tumor grows too rapidly or presses on the brain.

As an alternate treatment for acoustic neuroma, a neurosurgeon may prescribe stereotactic radiosurgery, a non-invasive technique employed at the Florida Hospital Neuroscience Institute in most major medical centers. Sometimes called a “gamma knife”, the treatment involves focusing high-powered x-rays on a small area to destroy the tumor. This strategy can give results as good as those of open surgery for small and medium size tumors. .

Because many acoustic neuromas are very small and grow slowly, if no symptoms are present, the doctor may elect a course of observation, particularly in older patients. In that case, regular MRI scans monitor the condition’s progress.