Brain tumors are not a condition that is easy to deal with. In fact, there is a lot that goes into diagnosing and treating a brain tumor. Thankfully, brain surgeons dedicate their days to monitoring and treating them so that good health can be obtained. Of course, there are different kinds of brain tumors varying…
Treatment for an Acoustic Neuroma
Acoustic neuroma is a non-cancerous tumor that grows slowly in the vestibular nerve that runs from the inner ear to the brain. It is rare for this tumor to grow rapidly because it usually grows slowly or not at all. If it grows large enough, the tumor will press against the brain and interfere with the person’s vital functions. The rare growth of the tumor can lead to hearing loss, imbalance, and ringing in the ear.
Treatment of acoustic neuroma
There are three ways to treat acoustic neuroma: via monitoring, via surgery, and via radiation therapy. The doctor may also advise supportive therapy to remove or stop the growth of the tumor. These therapy methods will address the acoustic neuroma’s symptoms and complications, such as dizziness and balance problems. The treatment will vary depending on the following:
- Size and growth of the acoustic neuroma
- Overall health of the patient
- Severity of symptoms and other complications
Monitoring or observation
Doctors will advise monitoring and observation for patients with acoustic neuroma that does not grow or grows only slowly. Those with no or few symptoms will not need to undergo more aggressive treatments too. The doctors will also recommend monitoring for seniors and people who are not healthy enough for surgeries and radiation therapies. Monitoring the severity of acoustic neuroma will involve imaging and hearing tests every six to 12 months.
Patients may need invasive surgery if the tumor is growing based on the scans and tests. Doctors will also suggest surgical procedures if the tumor is causing progressive symptoms. The goal of the surgery is not only to remove the tumor. It also wants to preserve the facial nerve and prevent facial paralysis.
However, surgical procedures have their risks. It may not remove the entire tumor when it is too close to some parts of the brain or facial nerve. There are also complications, so patients have to watch out for worsening symptoms. The complications to expect are as follows:
- Loss of hearing
- Facial weakness or numbness
- Balance problems
- Ringing in the ear
- Leaking cerebrospinal fluid
- Persistent headache
- Stroke (rare)
Doctors may recommend three types of radiation therapy for acoustic neuroma. Stereotactic radiosurgery is used for tumors less than 2.5 cm in diameter in older adults or patients who cannot tolerate surgeries because of health reasons. Stereotactic radiotherapy runs for several sessions and uses small doses of radiation on the tumor so as not to damage the surrounding brain tissue. Proton beam therapy uses protons on the affected areas to minimize exposure to radiation.
Early diagnosis works best
You do not need to be scared if you have an acoustic neuroma. It is very rare for this type of tumor to grow. When doctors detect it, they will usually advise you on the best course of action. Listen to your doctors about the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment to your age, health, and symptoms.
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