Acoustic neuromas are tumors that develop on the nerves connecting the ear to the brain. Being non-cancerous in nature, they do not spread to other parts of the body. However, they are characterized by symptoms such as gradual or sudden hearing loss, more pronounced with either of the ears, a ringing sensation in the affected ear, weakness, facial numbness and dizziness.
Acoustic neuroma can be of two types: one is sporadic in nature and the other is associated with a condition known as neurofibromatosis type II (NF2). NF2 is basically an inherited disorder identified by benign growth in the nervous system. NF2 being a rare disorder, makes the sporadic type the dominant one. Although the causes behind this type of neuroma are still unknown, long term exposure to radiations, especially around the neck and the head, could be one of the most important triggering factors.
Once the diagnosis is done, treatments for acoustic neuroma depend on the growth and size of the tumor.
Diagnosis with the help of monitoring: Small tumors exhibiting no such symptom or slow signs of growth need to be monitored with the use of hearing tests and regular imaging. In case, the MRI scans are able to trace any sort of development on the part of the tumor or if the tumor poses subsequent difficulties, opting for treatment becomes the need of the hour.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery: Also known as Gamma Knife, radiosurgery is a treatment method wherein controlled radiations are used to treat tumors, thus doing away with the need of making any incision.
Surgical Removal: Surgery performed under general anesthesia is directed towards removing the tumor; that helps to preserve the facial nerve and thus inhibit facial paralysis and hearing loss. The tumor is usually removed either through the ear or through the skull.