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Vestibular Schwannoma Insights

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various aspects of vestibular schwannoma, from its causes and symptoms to diagnosis, treatment options, and the importance of choosing the right medical team.

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What is vestibular schwannoma?

Vestibular schwannoma is a non-cancerous tumor that originates from Schwann cells surrounding the vestibular branch of the eighth cranial nerve, which controls balance and hearing. While typically slow-growing and benign, these tumors can cause a variety of symptoms due to their location near critical cranial nerves.

What causes vestibular schwannoma?

The exact cause of vestibular schwannomas remains unclear, but they are often associated with a genetic mutation known as neurofibromatosis type II (NF2). Individuals with NF2 have a higher risk of developing these tumors. However, vestibular schwannomas can also occur spontaneously without any known risk factors.

What are the symptoms?

Vestibular schwannomas can lead to a range of symptoms, with hearing loss being the most common. Other symptoms may include imbalance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, and facial weakness. The severity of symptoms can vary, and not all individuals with these tumors will experience all symptoms.

If you notice persistent or worsening symptoms related to balance, hearing, or facial weakness, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional promptly. Early detection and intervention can lead to better outcomes.

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Diagnosis and evaluation

Diagnosing vestibular schwannoma begins with a thorough medical evaluation, including a review of your symptoms, medical history, and physical examination. Specialized tests, such as audiometry, vestibular function tests, and imaging studies like MRI scans, are essential for accurate diagnosis. Differentiating vestibular schwannoma from other conditions that may produce similar symptoms, such as Meniere’s disease or other inner ear disorders, is a critical aspect of an accurate diagnosis.

How is a vestibular schwannoma treated?

  • Monitoring: For small, asymptomatic tumors or individuals with significant medical concerns, a “wait and watch” approach may be recommended. Regular monitoring through imaging studies allows healthcare providers to track tumor growth and assess the need for treatment.
  • Surgical interventions: When treatment is necessary, surgical removal of the tumor is a common approach. Surgical techniques can vary, with the goal of preserving hearing and minimizing damage to nearby cranial nerves. In some cases, radiation therapy may be considered as an alternative or adjunct to surgery.

Vestibular schwannoma, though benign, can significantly impact a person’s quality of life due to its effects on hearing, balance, and facial function. Early diagnosis, thorough evaluation, and tailored treatment options are essential in managing this condition. It is imperative to seek prompt medical attention to explore the most suitable treatment plan and regain control over your health and well-being.

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Why choose the Hadcock Center for Facial Plastic Surgery?

Dr. Tessa Hadlock is an internationally renowned authority in the specialized field of vestibular schwannoma treatment. With over two decades of experience and a distinguished career, she is widely recognized as one of the world’s most accomplished clinician-scientists. Dr. Hadlock’s impressive credentials include a Harvard Medical School Professorship in Otology and Laryngology. Her contributions to the field extend far beyond clinical practice.

Dr. Hadlock’s groundbreaking research has propelled the development of innovative methods to regenerate facial nerve function, setting her apart as one of the few facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons to secure funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Her extensive body of work comprises numerous clinical outcomes studies and the creation of influential tools for evaluating the effectiveness of reanimation procedures. These tools are regularly referenced in international literature, underscoring Dr. Hadlock’s pivotal role in advancing the field of vestibular schwannoma treatment.

These tools are regularly referenced in international literature, underscoring Dr. Hadlock’s pivotal role in advancing the field of vestibular schwannoma treatment. When under the care of Dr. Tessa Hadlock, you gain the benefit of her wealth of knowledge, extensive experience, and unwavering commitment to achieving optimal outcomes for vestibular schwannoma patients. Her expertise ensures that you receive the highest standard of care and access to cutting-edge treatments, making her the ideal choice for the treatment and management of vestibular schwannoma.

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