Vestibular Schwannoma (Acoustic Neuroma)

A vestibular schwannoma is a benign tumor on the nerve connecting the ear to the brain. It’s sometimes called an acoustic neuroma or a neurolemmoma.

Overview

Overview

Symptoms

A vestibular schwannoma is the result of an overproduction of Schwann cells. The Schwann cells form the myelin sheath, which insulates the nerves of the skull base. Vestibular schwannomas usually grow slowly. If they press against the nerves that lead to the brainstem and inner ear, symptoms may include:

  • Ringing in one ear (tinnitus)
  • Gradual hearing loss
  • Balance problems
  • Weak facial muscles

Diagnosis

First, you’ll meet with your doctor for a physical exam and to discuss your symptoms. Next, your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an MRI or a CT scan. Your doctors may also suggest other tests, including:

  • Audiogram, a procedure to test the softest sounds you can hear.
  • Auditory brainstem response test, which measures the rate of electric impulses traveling from the inner ear to the brainstem. It’s sometimes called an ABR, BAER or BSER.
  • Electronystagmography, a test of eye movements to find out how well the nerves are functioning and to gauge balance.

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Treatment Options

Treatment Options

If you have a vestibular schwannoma, your Aurora team, including neurologists and neurosurgeons, will work with you to find the best treatment based on your test results, age and overall health. 

Vestibular schwannoma treatment options may include:

  • Watchful waiting
  • Microsurgery
  • CyberKnife® radiosurgery, a non-invasive, robotic system that delivers high radiation doses to tumors with pinpoint accuracy
  • Rehabilitation

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