Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic Neuroma

Vestibular Schwannoma

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Duke ear, nose, and throat surgeons and neurosurgeons offer multiple treatment options for noncancerous growths called acoustic neuromas (also called vestibular schwannomas) found on the nerves responsible for balance and hearing. Preserving your hearing and balance, minimizing facial paralysis, and reducing your pain are equally important parts of the process. We continually evaluate how we can maximize your quality of life after treatment.

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Treatments

Lateral Skull Base Surgery

We conduct a careful evaluation and examination that includes details about your condition and medical history before determining if surgery is your best option. Our surgeons are trained and experienced in lateral skull base surgery to remove acoustic neuromas. Whenever possible, we use minimally invasive techniques to reduce hearing loss, improve balance problems, and minimize facial weakness. When appropriate, we use hearing-preservation surgical approaches, including middle fossa approach and suboccipital (retrosigmoid) approach. When large tumors or significant hearing loss is present, we often use the translabyrinthine (translab) approach.

Cochlear Implant

Our surgeons are now working around acoustic neuromas -- sometimes leaving them, or a portion of them, and the cochlear nerve intact -- and inserting a cochlear implant to preserve or restore hearing. Duke is one of a handful of centers in the U.S. where surgeons have successfully performed this novel procedure, and one of the only sites where surgeons remove the tumor and place the cochlear implant in one surgery.

Radiation Therapy

Image-guided radiation therapy targets the neuroma while preserving your healthy brain tissue. We use several imaging tools, including MRI and CT scans, to pinpoint the location of the neuroma and target the radiation dose. This ensures radiation is delivered only to the neuroma and spares healthy tissue.

Medication

Medications are sometimes used in conjunction with radiation therapy or surgery. We assess the size and location of your acoustic neuroma and your symptoms to develop the best treatment plan.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Tests

Acoustic neuromas are complex conditions that can affect hearing, balance, and facial movement. We have the most comprehensive testing facility in the region for evaluating your acoustic neuroma. This allows us to recommend the best, customized treatment options and improve your outcomes after surgery.

Functioning Tests

Our doctors assess your hearing (auditory brainstem response, or ABR), balance, strength, coordination, reflexes, vision, swallowing, and ability to think and remember.

CT, MRI, PET, and Angiography

Various imaging tests may be performed to help detect and diagnose the type of skull base tumor.

Biopsy

In some instances, our specialists may remove a small sample of the tumor in order to pinpoint the right diagnosis.

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Why Choose Duke

Receive a Convenient Second Opinion
Many of our patients live far from Duke and have been assessed before they come to our office. If you had a diagnostic scan or test performed elsewhere and are looking for a second opinion, our experts will review your results and recommend a treatment plan that will be most effective for you. Please call the appointment phone number on this page, and our nurse navigator will help make arrangements for your second opinion.

Nurse Navigator Coordinates Your Care
Once you are diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, our nurse navigator becomes your one-stop shop for scheduling appointments, coordinating your visits if you're traveling from out of town, communicating your test results, and planning your surgery. She guides you through this very complicated process and answers all your questions along the journey.

Your Personalized Care Team
Treating acoustic neuromas takes a team of specialists across many areas of expertise, including neurosurgery, radiation oncology, and otolaryngology. This team works closely with you to create an individualized treatment plan that addresses your unique health situation and needs.

Our Doctors Work With Your Local Doctors
Once you've been treated at Duke, you may wish to continue your treatment closer to home. We will work with your local providers to coordinate care near your home, which may include radiation or other medication management

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals

In addition to being one of the best in the country, Duke University Hospital is proud to be nationally ranked in 11 adult and nine pediatric specialties.