The human body is a complex system, and is subject to more malfunctions and diseases than one could possibly imagine. Some health problems are a mere annoyance, while others can be deadly. Some come on slow, while others make their symptoms felt as soon as the condition manifests. The health issue we will discuss today is acoustic neuroma:
What is Acoustic Neuroma?
Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor of the vestibular nerve that starts in the base of the skull and slowly expands into the skull cavity. They appear in the inner ear, and in most patients the symptoms appear progressively. Symptoms include slow, progressive destruction of hearing in the affected ear, a sense of imbalance and altered gait, vertigo, nausea, and vomiting. While the tumor does not always grow in all patients, if it does grow, it can lead to increased pressure on the cranium, leading to severe headaches. Growth can also put pressure on the brainstem, which can affect many different nerves. Due to their proximity, facial nerves may also be affected, which can result in weakness of the face, decreased movement of facial muscles, sensory impairment, numbness of the face, and loss of taste.
How Can Acoustic Neuroma be Treated?
As of now, microsurgery is the only way of physically removing an acoustic neuroma. However, Gamma Knife surgery has proven to be a safe and effective way of neutralizing acoustic neuromas. The Gamma Knife method uses gamma radiation to kill the tumor, so no incision is needed for this type of procedure. There may be some discomfort during the procedure due to the patient’s need to wear a special headset; however, there is no invasive surgery performed and no recovery period. Unlike microsurgery, acoustic neuroma radiosurgery does not physically remove the tumor. Instead, it enables the doctor to control, halt, and in some cases even reverse the growth of the tumor. The results are comparable to that of Gamma Knife trigeminal neuralgia treatments – the tumor is controlled and rendered harmless without the need for cutting open the patient and surgically removing it.
If you have never heard of radiosurgery before, then consult with your doctor about it. However, keep in mind that many general practitioners are not trained in radiosurgery and therefore may not have enough information to give you a proper recommendation. You should consult with a Gamma Knife specialist before you make a final decision as to whether or not to try out radiosurgery.
Erick D. Smith is a blogger from San Diego, California who writes about Gamma Knife surgery. If you''re suffering from an acoustic neuroma then you might also want to look into acoustic neuroma radiosurgery.