Acoustic neuroma is a slow-growing tumor occurring in internal acoustic meatus or at a cerebellopontine angle in the posterior cranial fossa of the skull. It is also known as vestibular schwannoma because the origin of the tumor is from Schwann cells of the myelin sheath of the vestibular nerve.
Tumor growth is very less and can vary from no growth at all to greater than 1 centimeter per year although acoustic neuroma is a slow-growing tumor many times fast growth can be seen in them. It can then become symptomatic in a short period of time. There are three types of growth patterns seen in the acoustic neuroma. The first pattern is no growth or very slow growth of the tumor. The second pattern is slow-growing tumors with a growing rate of <0.2cm/ year. The third pattern is fast-growing tumors with a rate of above>1cm/ year.
How Long Will It Take To Recover From Acoustic Neuroma?
Acoustic neuroma does not undergo self-reduction in the size of the tumor in maximum cases because it is of progressive nature. Once it becomes symptomatic then automatic recovery is usually not seen. Continuous monitoring of the size of the tumor is required at regular intervals to manage the patient effectively without risking life. The patients suffering from progressive and symptomatic acoustic neuroma usually do not recover by themselves. Surgical treatment and radiotherapy help the patients in recovering from symptoms of the tumor. After the surgery, the patient can recover from the effects of surgery as well as from the tumor in a very short period of time ranging from weeks to months. Recovery after the radiotherapy could occur in months with good care of the patient post-radiation.
How Long Does The Symptoms Of Acoustic Neuroma Last?
If the acoustic neuroma tumor has become symptomatic even with the first grade of growth pattern then the symptoms usually get subsided and wean off after a few months or a year or so after the treatment is given for them. Hearing ability may not be affected at all or can get back to normal.
If the acoustic neuroma tumor is showing the second grade of growth pattern then the symptoms are progressive in nature. These get increased with time like hearing ability deteriorates, nausea and vomiting increases, bouts of headache converts to continuous prolonged headache, etc. But the severity of symptoms does not grow as much and these can be managed by either medical treatment or radiotherapy. These symptoms can last for years and even remain for a lifetime. Stereotactic radiotherapy could be performed in patients who can afford it or otherwise, normal radiotherapy could be given in non-affording cases along with continued medical treatment.
If the tumor shows the third grade of growth pattern then it requires urgent treatment with planned surgical resection of the tumor because it will reach a stage of irreversible damage to the brain in the near future. It could be characterized by symptoms of raised intracranial tension, compression of nearby vital structures and other brain parts, herniation of the brain into the spinal cord, etc. Surgical treatment is the treatment of choice for this type of patients. The symptoms of this stage would not last for a long period of time as the patient would either go in a coma or will be dead.
Self-recovery in symptomatic acoustic neuroma patients is rare because of the progressive nature of the tumor and involvement of vital areas of the brain near it. Hearing ability and other compressive symptoms go on increasing and are needed to be managed at regular intervals. Hearing aid and medical treatment should be given until the surgery is planned.
Once the surgery is done then the recovery of the patient depends upon the approach used in surgery, the success of the operation, postoperative recovery period from the anesthesia, etc. The compressive symptoms of the tumor get immediately relieved. Hearing ability may be compromised or even sacrificed for a lifetime.
- Acoustic Neuroma: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Surgery, Complications
- Do Acoustic Neuromas Ever Go Away?