Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor located on the cranial nerve controlling hearing and balance. This nerve runs from the brain to the inner ear, near several important structures.
Due to the tumor’s location, symptoms can include hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and balance problems. Larger tumors may cause facial numbness, headaches, and, in rare cases, a life-threatening accumulation of fluid around the brain.
The size of the tumor directly affects the difficulty of treatment and resulting complications. Small tumors are confined to the internal auditory canal, while large tumors can extend to the brain cavity and place pressure on the brainstem.
For more detailed, technical information about acoustic neuroma, please read our acoustic neuroma patient information sheet.
UT Southwestern uses a team approach to treatment and ongoing care, with ear specialists, neurosurgeons, audiologists, and physical therapists involved in the treatment process as needed.
We offer several treatment options depending on the size and the exact location of the tumor:
While the total removal of the tumor is the initial goal of any surgery, in some cases, a small portion of the tumor may be left on the nerve to prevent complications. This remnant is then monitored for future growth.
Surgical options include:
Our physicians are experienced in minimally invasive techniques that reduce brain manipulation and decrease the chances of post-operative complications. However, there are risks and possible complications with any invasive surgery.
The risks and complications include: