What is Acoustic Neuroma?
An acoustic neuroma is a tumour. In most cases, these tumors grow slowly over a period of years, but sometimes the rate of growth is more rapid. In a very small number of cases they can be cancerous. Sometimes they are referred to as ‘Acoustic Schwannomas’, ‘Vestibular Schwannomas’ or ‘Vestibular Neuromas’. Also known as the vestibulocochlear or eighth cranial the nerve runs from the brainstem to the inner ear and carries signals from the sounds we hear and also gives us the sensation of balance. They may present as sizable by the time that symptoms become apparent.
Radiosurgery for acoustic neuromas is well established and can be useful in the treatment of both unilateral and bilateral neuromas. Radiosurgery can be planned to try and preserve any residual hearing in the side being treated, although this is not always guaranteed. The choice of treatment may be based on tumour size, hearing in the ear at time of diagnosis, patient age and health, and patient preference.