Vestibular schwannoma; Tumor – acoustic; Cerebellopontine angle tumor; Angle tumor
Definition of Acoustic neuroma
An acoustic neuroma is a slow-growing tumor of the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. This nerve is located behind the ear right under the brain.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
An acoustic neuroma is believed to occur when there is a defect in a gene that normally prevents tumors from forming. The cause of the genetic defect is not known. However, acoustic neuroma can be linked with the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2).
The symptoms vary based on the size and location of the tumor. Because the tumor grows so slowly, symptoms usually start after the age of 30.
Signs and tests
The health care provider may diagnose an acoustic neuroma based on your medical history, an examination of your nervous system, or tests.
Depending on the size and location of the tumor, you and your health care provider must decide whether to watch the tumor (observation) or try to remove the tumor.
An acoustic neuroma is not cancer. The tumor does not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. However, it may continue to grow and press on important structures in the skull.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/24/2010