Acoustic neuroma is a tumor that arises in the Schwann cells that cover up the vestibular nerve, which is the main nerve leading from your ear to your brain. It is also known as vestibular schwannoma and it is benign in nature. It is a very slow-growing neuroma.(1)
Do Acoustic Neuromas Grow Back?
- Usually, after complete removal of the acoustic neuroma, it does not grow back. However, acoustic neuromas may be treated with different treatment methods.
- If complete removal of the acoustic neuroma is not advised or possible or an acoustic neuroma is removed partially, it may grow back.
- If the acoustic neuroma is treated with radiation therapy, there are chances that it may again grow back.
How Fast Do They Grow?
Acoustic neuroma is a very slow-growing tumor. Sometimes, it may not grow at all. Very rarely, it grows quite rapidly and can become aggressive. It is a benign condition and not cancerous. It does not spread to other parts tumor the body.
Usually, the signs and symptoms of acoustic neuroma do not develop for many years. Also, when they do develop, they may be very mild or subtle. The signs and symptoms are usually connected to the neuroma’s ability to hamper hearing and balancing capabilities. Also, the symptoms may be caused due to a growing tumor exerting pressure on the nearby nerves and tissue, blood vessels tumor and brain structures.(1)
The signs and symptoms become more prominent with the growth of the tumor. These may include-
- A progressive or gradual hearing loss. The hearing loss is more on one side, or only at one side. Very rarely, the hearing loss is sudden and on both sides.
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is seen
- Imbalance or unsteadiness
- Vertigo or dizziness/giddiness
- Facial weakness, numbness or loss of movement or facial paralysis
- Very rarely, the acoustic neuroma grows too big and puts pressure on the brainstem and may create complications
- If you feel any of these above signs and symptoms bothering you, it may be time to see your doctor
Causes Of Acoustic Neuroma
It is speculated that the reason for acoustic neuroma is a defective gene, which is present on chromosome 22. This gene makes a protein that is responsible for suppressing the tumors and controls the growth of Schwann cells. Because of the defect in it, the Schwann cells grow beyond control and form a tumor.
However, the reason for this gene to be defective is not yet clear and is usually not identified.
A rare type of genetic disorder, known as neurofibromatosis type 2, also present with an inheritance of this faulty gene, making it an only known risk factor for acoustic neuroma.(1)
Risk Factors For Acoustic Neuroma
Neurofibromatosis type 2 is the only known, confirmed risk factor for acoustic neuroma.
Neurofibromatosis type 2 is a very rare genetic disorder and an autosomal dominant disorder. It means that the faulty gene can be passed on to the child by just one affected parent. All children of the affected parent at are a fifty percent risk of getting this condition.(1)
Complications Of Acoustic Neuroma
Acoustic neuroma may give rise to certain complications like-
- Loss of hearing capacities
- Facial weakness and numbness
- Difficulties in keeping the balance
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ear(1)
Acoustic neuromas usually do not grow back after complete removal. Though, some symptoms, like hearing loss, unsteadiness, tinnitus, facial numbness, etc. may still be persistent even after the completion of the treatment. The acoustic neuromas grow very slow and sometimes they do not grow at all. They usually do not produce any symptoms for several years and when they do, the symptoms are usually very mild at the beginning and they progress very slowly.
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