Acoustic Neuromas

An acoustic neuroma is a benign (nonmalignant) tumor that originates on the nerves affecting hearing or balance. These nerves are located deep in the skull and are very close to important structures.

Because the tumor involves these particular nerves, patients will usually experience hearing loss, ringing in the ear, or problems with balance. Larger tumors will cause facial numbness, headaches, and the accumulation of fluid around the brain that can be fatal if left untreated.

UT Southwestern has one of the highest-volume acoustic neuroma programs in the state of Texas. Research clearly shows that clinical outcomes for patients with acoustic neuromas are better at high-volume centers than at low-volume centers.

Treatment

Because of the complexity of the anatomy and patients’ individual circumstances, we use a team approach involving neurotologists (ear specialists), neurosurgeons, and, when appropriate, radiation oncologists for the surgical treatment of these tumors. By combin­ing the expertise of these specialties, surgical outcomes are greatly improved. Postoperative care involves a team of audiologists and physical therapists as needed.

Treatments include:

  • Observation – Using serial MRIs, we see if growth is detected before determining treatment.
  • Radiosurgery – This technique uses radiation in a very precise manner in order to stop tumor growth.
  • Surgery – Several options exist. We determine the surgical approaches based on multiple factors, including tumor size, tumor location, and hearing status.

Learn more about treatments for acoustic neuromas.

Acoustic Neuroma Specialists

Neurosurgery

Samuel Barnett, M.D.

Samuel Barnett, M.D.

  • Neurosurgeon
Bruce Mickey, M.D.

Bruce Mickey, M.D.

  • Neurosurgeon

Otolaryngology

Jacob Hunter, M.D.

Jacob Hunter, M.D.

  • Neurotologist
Brandon Issacson, M.D.

Brandon Issacson, M.D.

  • Neurotologist
Joe Kutz, M.D.

Joe Kutz, M.D.

  • Neurotologist

How We Can Help

Most patients we see in the UT Southwestern acoustic neuroma program are referred by their otolaryngologist to one of our neurotologists or neurosurgeons. You may ask to be referred to us by your physician, or you may contact us directly for a second opinion by calling 214-645-8300.

All patients with acoustic neuromas are seen promptly. Same-day and next-day appointments are often available.

What to Expect

When you are seen at UT Southwestern for an acoustic neuroma, your evaluating physician will gather information about the size and shape of your tumor, your current level of hearing, and any treatments you have had to date. We will then confer with the multidisciplinary acoustic neuroma team, and together we will formulate a treatment plan that is personalized to you.