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Vestibular Schwannoma

A vestibular schwannoma (also called an acoustic neuroma) is a benign (noncancerous) tumor that develops in the balance and hearing nerves. Vestibular schwannomas usually grow slowly and do not spread to other parts of the body.

Vestibular schwannomas may cause hearing loss and nerve damage. If the tumor grows large enough, it can press against brain structures, which can be life-threatening.

Specialists at The University of Kansas Health System offer advanced treatments for complex medical conditions, including vestibular schwannoma.

What is vestibular schwannoma?

The vestibular nerve connects the inner ear to the brain. Vestibular schwannoma is a benign (noncancerous) tumor that grows on this nerve. This type of tumor typically grows slowly, but over time can affect hearing and balance, sometimes significantly. In rare cases, vestibular schwannoma can progress quickly and become large enough to put pressure on the brain.

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Vestibular schwannoma symptoms and risks

Symptoms of vestibular schwannoma can include:

Although research indicates that the faulty gene responsible for causing vestibular schwannoma can be inherited, only a minority of cases are caused by heredity. Doctors aren’t sure what causes most cases of vestibular schwannoma.

Vestibular schwannoma diagnosis and screening

The symptoms of vestibular schwannoma can be challenging to diagnose correctly because they are so similar to many other conditions that can affect the middle and inner ear. If your doctor suspects a vestibular schwannoma, you may need a complete evaluation and MRI scan to locate whether a tumor is present.

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Vestibular schwannoma treatment

Treatment plans are based on the size and location of the tumor, your symptoms and your age and general health. There are pros and cons to each treatment option for vestibular schwannoma, which your doctor will discuss in detail with you.

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