If you are diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including:
- The size and location of the tumor
- Your age
- Your general health
- Your hearing
- Your preference
Your acoustic neuroma treatment will be customized to your particular needs. One or more of the following therapies may be recommended.
Like all surgeries, acoustic neuroma surgery is most successful when performed by a specialist with a great deal of experience in the particular procedure. MD Anderson’s surgeons are among the most experienced in the nation in surgery to treat acoustic neuromas.
Surgery for acoustic neuromas is complex and delicate, and it requires a team of experts from several specialties.
Surgical approaches include:
- Through the mastoid bone (translabyrinthine)
- Behind the ear (retrosigmoid)
- Above the ear (middle fossa)
Your physician will recommend the best type of surgery for your specific condition. Hearing preservation approaches are available for some carefully selected patients most likely to benefit from the procedure.
Gamma Knife surgery is a form of radiation therapy invented in 1967 by Lars Leksell, a Swedish neurosurgeon. It offers a non-invasive procedure that can be performed in one session and with extreme precision..
For the one-day procedure, the patient first has a brain MRI with a head frame placed by a neurosurgeon. Then the Gamma Knife team creates a customized treatment plan, which is delivered to the patient who lies on a sophisticated and highly accurate patient positioning system (PPS). The patient's head is inserted into the cone-shaped tungsten cylinder that delivers highly focused gamma rays around the head.
While the contribution of each ray is relatively small -- allowing for less damage to surrounding healthy cells -- when the multiple rays converge on the tumor, they have great intensity. The Gamma Knife unit also has an audio/visual connection so the patient can be seen and also communicate with the treatment team.
Observation with serial imaging
Sometimes called watchful waiting, this approach may be used for some patients with slow-growing tumors. It includes careful observation and periodic MRIs.
MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials offering
promising new treatments that cannot be
found anywhere else.
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