Acoustic Neuroma

Treatment of acoustic neuroma

Various methods can be applied to deal with acoustic neuroma once it has been discovered.

  1. Keep it under observation with repeated MRI.
  2. Treatment using a gamma knife or cyber knife, both of which are forms of radiotherapy.
  3. Surgical removal.
  1. If the tumor is small, one option is to keep it under observation by means of outpatient MRI, monitoring any changes in size together with a doctor. If obvious tumor growth is seen during this observation period, radiotherapy or surgery will be considered.
  2. The criterion for whether to carry out radiotherapy or surgery is whether the tumor is greater than 3 cm in size. Tumors larger than 3 cm are not treated using radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is also not often recommended for tumors that are growing in a sac-like form. Tumors no more than 3 cm in size can be treated by radiotherapy. This treatment involves only a short hospital stay, and is not very physically taxing. However, it does not result in the immediate shrinking or complete disappearance of the tumor. Radiotherapy is effective in suppressing further development of the tumor. Radiotherapy using gamma knife or cyber knife techniques is offered by numerous institutions in Japan, and you should see a doctor at one of these institutions to learn more details.
  3. If the tumor is greater than 3 cm in size and deformation of the surrounding brain, hydrocephalus, or other such complications are present, surgery to remove the lesion is considered first. Surgical treatment will also be considered for tumors smaller than 3 cm if the patient has a strong desire for the lesion to be removed. The basic advantage of surgery is that it enables either definitive removal of the tumor or reduction of tumor volume. Surgery focuses on the following two points: removing as much of the tumor as possible while preserving the function of the facial nerve that runs alongside, and if possible removing the lesion without causing any loss of hearing. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) generally does not improve. Radiotherapy may be used later to treat small areas of tumor left after surgery.

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