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Acoustic Neuroma, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Acoustic Neuroma

It is a type of benign (non-cancerous) brain tumor. It is also recognized as a vestibular schwannoma. However, a benign tumor is the growth in the brain which usually grows sluggishly over the years, before developing any symptoms, but it doesn’t spread to other parts of the body. While, the acoustic neuromas grow on the nerve which are commonly used for balance and hearing, and cause problems such as hearing loos and wobbliness. Moreover, these carcinoma become life threatening, if they grow very large. Mostly, they are picked up early on and are treated straight away. The people with age 30-60 are more likely to be affected by acoustic neuromas, but they have no obvious root, although it is mostly related to genetic condition named neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2).

Symptoms of an acoustic neuroma

No obvious symptoms are related with the acoustic neuroma, but symptoms may appear with the passage of time, which include:

  • Hearing loss, usually of the one ear
  • Tinnitus, a hearing sound originates from inside of the body
  • Vertigo, a kind of unusual sensation, in which you seems to be moving or spinning

Problems associated with Acoustic neuroma

  • It may cause severe headache
  • Doubled or blurred vision
  • Pain, numbness or weakness usually on one side of the face
  • Ataxia, a common problem with limb coordination also one side of the body
  • A difficulty in swallowing

Getting medical advice

It is advisable that, one should visit GP, if have troublesome or persistent symptoms that seems to be caused due to acoustic neuroma. However, it is difficult to diagnose, because the symptoms may be caused by other medical complications, such as Menier,s disease. In case, if GP found the symptoms and complications arises due to acoustic neuroma, then you will be referred to a clinic or hospital for supplementary test, such as:

  • First and the most important test is the hearing test, in order to evaluate the problems associated with hearing, and whether the problems lies with the nerves or not.
  • MRI scan, which will scan you head completely via string magnetic and radio waves
  • A CT scan, which also outline the details in the head via X-rays

Treatments for acoustic neuromas

Number of different treatment options are available for treating acoustic neuroma, which depends on the position and size of tumor inside the head. It may also depend on you general health as well. However, in a broader sense the options may include:

  • Monitoring the tumor: A regular MRI can be used to monitor the small tumors, and the treatment is only recommended if scans revealed the tumor is growing.
  • Brain Surgery: A cut in the skull to remove the tumor is a common surgery used, and may be carried out under normal aneasthetic conditions, if the tumor is large.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery: It is usually a post-surgery treatment used to remove any remains of tumor after the surgery.

Nevertheless, all these options are associated with risks, such as both surgery and radiosurgery may sometime cause paralysis or facial numbness.

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