An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor of cranial nerve VIII. Patients are often diagnosed with this tumor after noting a loss of hearing on one side. Other times, the tumor is revealed during imaging for a non-related cause and presents no symptoms at all.
Observation, surgical resection or gamma knife radio surgery are the standard treatment options. The advantage of observation is that the person will not be subjected to the risks and side effects of a treatment. However, the tumor may grow to a large size, limiting the therapeutic options.
For many years, surgical resection of acoustic neuromas has been performed; however, it is an invasive procedure requiring a hospital stay, and carries the risk of infection, bleeding, permanent neurological damage and an adverse reaction from the anesthesia.
During the past ten years, gamma knife radiosurgery has become the preferred treatment for acoustic neuromas. The advantage of gamma knife radiosurgery is that it has a very high chance of curing the tumor and, because it is not surgery in the true sense, there are fewer risks.