Is Acoustic Neuroma A Serious Condition & Can It Be Reversed?

Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor of Schwann cells of the outer layer of the eighth cranial nerve. It is also known as vestibular schwannoma. It grows invariably out of control in one of two nerves of the eighth cranial nerve. Usually, it affects one ear. Its growth is slow and may take years to develop. It does not develop in the brain. It may grow large that may compress the brain and neighboring cranial nerve. Then, it may disturb the functions of facial muscles and expressions and sensations. (1)

The symptoms of acoustic neuroma include partial or complete loss of one ear, numbness and weakness of the face, feeling of fullness, pain in the ear, headaches, changes in taste, confusion, and chewing or swallowing difficulties. (1)

Is Acoustic Neuroma A Serious Condition?

Is Acoustic Neuroma A Serious Condition?

Acoustic neuroma is benign cancer and it is a slow-growing tumor. The important feature of this tumor is that it is limited to the eighth cranial nerve and it does not grow in any other part of the body. But in certain cases, it may become fatal when it is left untreated. As this tumor tends to grow continuously, it may have less room inside the small canal inside the inner ear. The small canal connects the inner ear with the brain. When it grows too large, it grows eventually into the skull cavity. (2)

In the skull, it compresses the base of the brain which is also known as the brain stem. It may result in the building of cerebrospinal fluid in this area. It then interrupts the function of the brainstem that includes heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, consciousness, and swallowing. Thus, excess enlargement of these tumors may become a serious condition and may be fatal. (2)

Acoustic neuroma is a common tumor that arises from the inner ear. It affects one or both the fibers of the vestibular nerve whose main function is hearing and balancing. As the growth of the tumor happens inside the inner ear and if it is not detected in time, then it continues to grow slowly and encroaching some of the parts of the brain.

Another characteristic feature of this tumor is that its symptoms appear late especially the function of hearing is disturbed by the time. It happens because of the impingement of the nerve. In many cases, when this tumor was revealed, the patients have experienced a remarkable loss of hearing. (3)

Can Acoustic Neuroma Be Reversed?

The primary treatment of acoustic neuroma is the surgical incision of the tumor from the nerve. In 50-60 % of the cases, hearing can be regained back if tumors are small in size. The hearing nerve cannot be preserved if the tumor grows too much size above one inch, the hearing ability cannot be improved. It can be only reversed if the tumor size is small in size usually less than one inch. (3)

Conclusion

Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that grows in the eighth cranial nerve. It becomes serious when it grows large encroaching the brain parts such as brainstem and cerebellum leading to disturbance of vital functions such as heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, etc. It can be reversed with surgery only when it is small in size.

References

  1. https://www.webmd.com/brain/acoustic-neuroma-causes-symptoms-treatments#1
  2. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/acoustic-neuroma
  3. https://www.quora.com/Is-acoustic-neuroma-hearing-loss-reversible-1

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