Acoustic Neuroma

An acoustic neuroma is an abnormal growth (tumor) of the pair of nerves that connects the ear to the brain (acoustic nerves), which allows you to hear.

SYMPTOMS

Acoustic neuroma usually occurs on just one of the acoustic nerves and produces symptoms of:

  • Hearing loss.

  • Ringing in the affected ear.

  • Dizziness and loss of balance.

DIAGNOSIS

It is usually diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This is a special type of X-ray.

TREATMENT

  • Surgery by a specialist can often remove the tumor while saving the function of the nerve. Often hearing can be preserved. However, sometimes hearing cannot be preserved.

  • The neurosurgeon will use an operating microscope.

  • The tumors can also be treated with radiation using a gamma knife. This is not a knife, but a machine that delivers a high dose of focused radiation. Little of the surrounding tissue is affected by the radiation because most of the radiation is directed with precision to the tumor.

Because of the location of this tumor, there are complications that can come from this surgery. Some of these problems are:

  • Hearing loss.

  • Weakened or no facial muscle movement on the side that was operated (transient or permanent facial paralysis).

  • Leaking of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid).

  • Inflammation caused by infection of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis).

  • Bleeding.

  • Stroke.

Your surgeon will discuss why the surgery is necessary and also discuss the possible complications.

LET YOUR CAREGIVER KNOW ABOUT:

  • Allergies.

  • Medications taken.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Possibility of pregnancy.

  • Use of any steroids, including oral, skin creams, or drops.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

A bandage (dressing), depending on the location of the cut from surgery (laceration), may have been applied. This may be changed once per day or as instructed. If the dressing sticks, it may be soaked off with soapy water or hydrogen peroxide. Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have redness, swelling, or increasing pain in the wound.

  • You notice pus coming from the wound.

  • You have a fever.

  • You notice a bad smell coming from the wound or dressing.

  • You have a breaking open of the wound (the edges do not stay together) after sutures have been removed.