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Treatments for acoustic neuroma may include various options: physician
monitored conservative treatment, surgical removal and
radiotherapy. About 25% of all acoustic neuromas are treated with medical management
consisting of a periodic monitoring of the patient's neurological
status, serial imaging studies, and the use of hearing aids when appropriate.
Choice of treatment are made by both the patient and physician and are
dependent upon the size and location of the tumor, patient's age,
symptoms, physical health and hearing. At SCCNS we encourage an open discussion
with our patients as to their options and educate them on the risk associated
with each treatment.
Conservative Treatment: Because these tumors grow so slowly, a physician may opt for conservative
treatment beginning with an
observation period. In such a case, the tumor is monitored by annual
MRI to monitor growth. This route is common among patients over 70 years old.
Since the growth rate of an acoustic neuroma rarely accelerates, annual
observation is sufficient.
Surgical Treatment: Surgery may be necessary if the neuroma is affecting facial nerves, causing
hearing loss or causing other problems. Removal of acoustic neuromas may
be performed using several approaches. Each approach has its advantages
and disadvantages. However surgery risks may include headaches, hearing
loss, dizziness, and possibly facial weakness. Occasionally an additional
surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery is needed to treat remaining tumor
tissue. Acoustic neuroma surgery is highly technically demanding and should
be performed by a neurosurgeon or otolaryngologist, alone or together.
Radiosurgery such as Gamma Knife uses beams of
gamma radiation that are focused on the tumor in a single session. This treatment is designed
to stop tumor growth. Regular follow up with your surgeon is necessary
to check for any change in tumor growth. SCCNS is proud to offer this
treatment at the Southern California Regional Gamma Center at San Antonio
Community Hospital in Upland, CA.