An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that has the potential to affect a patient’s balance and hearing nerves. Acoustic neuroma tumors most often occur on one side of the patient’s brain, tend to be slow growing and do not metastasize to other portions of the body.
The most common symptoms include decreased hearing and ringing sound in the ear called tinnitus. Other symptoms may include loss of balance, facial numbness or tingling, and in rare cases of very large tumors, confusion and headaches.
Treatment options depend upon the patient age and tumor size. Some tumors can be observed over a span of time to determine the tumor growth pattern. Hearing preservation surgery can lead to favorable long-term outcomes in patients with smaller tumors. Large tumors that compress the brainstem are often surgically removed. Preserving the facial nerve function is a top priority during surgical removal of acoustic neuromas with postoperative function being very favorable when the tumor is small.