Acoustic neuroma: Definition
The acoustic neuroma, also known as vestibular schwannoma, is a benign tumor, not cancerous, which comes most often at the bottom of the internal auditory canal and the development of which may be responsible for compression of brain structures. Neuroma growth is slow. The neuroma is a bit more common in women. Its discovery is usually around the age of 50-60 years. It is usually unilateral (it affects only one ear) and not hereditary.
Acoustic Neuroma: Causes
It is a tumor of the sheath of the vestibular nerve, the nerve passes through an opening connecting the brain to the inner ear. This sheath is made up of cells called Schwann cells. The proliferation of these cells, forming the tumor may be responsible for the compression of vital brain structures. However, the evolution of these tumors is generally slow. And acoustic neuroma is often diagnosed before the onset of these complications.
Acoustic Neuroma: Symptoms
The acoustic neuroma should be considered in any unilateral hearing loss, usually progressive, which is the call sign the most common. Disorders of intelligibility are sometimes present.Tinnitus exist only on one side and are pitched. Of balance disorders may occur: instability, lightheadedness, dizziness sometimes great. When the neuroma is highly developed, evidence relevant to the achievement of central structures occur: numbness of the face (facial paralysis), facial anesthesia, headache, loss of balance ...
Acoustic neuroma: Prevention
Its appearance can be prevented. For cons, the earlier the diagnosis is made early by the GP or ear, nose and throat (ENT), the greater the risk of complications is low.
Acoustic neuroma: review
The necessary examinations to confirm diagnosis and rule out other causes of deafness are:
- An examination of normal ears,
- One in tune acoumétrie showing sensorineural hearing loss,
- Audiometry confirmed sensorineural hearing loss and showing a poor intelligibility,
- A comprehensive review of the balance. The main tests confirming the diagnosis are the audiometric tests, examinations, student balance and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), x-ray that visualizes the benign tumor.
Acoustic Neuroma: Treatment
It is mainly based on surgical excision. It seeks to preserve the facial nerve and hearing to the extent that the neuroma is not excessive volume. However, in elderly or with significant operative risks, no treatment can be offered, knowing the slow evolution of some neuromas. Another treatment is possible: the stéréoradiothérapie or gamma-knife, reserved for small tumors.
Acoustic Neuroma: Trends
In the absence of early diagnosis, the gradual increase in the volume of acoustic neuroma causes a compression of vital brain structures, some responsible for the activity of the heart or lungs.
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