Our multidisciplinary team of experts offers individualized, quality healthcare on an inpatient and outpatient basis with renowned surgical expertise. A team of experts, including neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and neuropathologists, collaborates to offer the latest diagnostic and therapeutic (surgical and nonsurgical) treatments. This multidisciplinary approach, combined with leading-edge science and technology, offers patients an increased chance for survival and improved quality of life.
An acoustic neuroma is a benign (noncancerous) brain tumor that starts in the cells that wrap around the auditory (hearing) and vesticular (balance) nerves in the head. These tumors may grow on one or both sides of the brain. Acoustic neuromas account for about seven percent of all brain tumors.Acoustic neuromas are a form of schwannoma, a tumor that originates in the cells that form a protective sheath around the body's nerve fibers. They are also known as vestibular schwannomas.
In the early stages of acoustic neuroma, symptoms may include:
- Loss of hearing
- Ringing in the ears
Cause and Risk Factors
The cause and risk factors for acoustic neuromas are not yet known. Rarely, these may be bilateral and associated with neurofibromatosis.
When the acoustic neuroma is suspected, doctors may order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and hearing tests, which may include a special technique to test nerve impulses as they travel to the brain.
Most acoustic neuromas can be treated with radiosurgery, avoiding invasive surgery. Complication rates are known to be lower with radiosurgery than open surgery and control rates are equivalent or superior, especially when tumors are relatively small (less than 2.5 cm.)
A glioma is a type of a primary brain tumor. Primary brain tumors are those that arise from the brain itself rather than traveling or metastasizing from another location in the body. Approximately 17,000 new cases of primary brain tumors are treated each year in the United States.
Primary brain tumors can either be benign or malignant. Benign brain tumors (eg. meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, pituitary gland tumors), and some gliomas, usually grow slowly and can often be treated with surgery or radiosurgery, depending upon their specific location in the brain. Malignant brain tumors, such as glioblastomas and anaplastic astrocytomas, among others, tend to grow rapidly, spreading into the surrounding brain tissue and often cannot be entirely removed surgically.
Primary brain tumors can occur in both children as well as adults. The most common age of diagnosis in adults is age 40-70.
There are many different types of brain tumors. One type, known as astrocytoma, are tumors that arise from astrocyte cells - part of the supportive (neuroglial) tissue of the brain. Astrocytomas account for about half of all primary brain and spinal cord tumors.
Glioblastomas are fast growing astrocytomas that contain areas of dead (necrotic) tumor cells. In adults, glioblastoma occurs most often in the cerebrum, especially in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, but can occur in the cerebellum or brain stem.
Glioblastoma can be difficult to treat although surgery, radiation therapy, steroids and chemotherapy have been clearly shown to prolong survival. In addition South Denver Neurosurgery now offers Optune®, an FDA-approved therapy for the treatment of newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastoma (GBM). Read more about Optune® and who is a candidate.
Metastatic tumors are caused by cancerous cells that shed from tumors in other parts of the body, travel through the bloodstream, burrow through the blood vessel walls, latch onto tissue and create new tumors inside the brain or spinal cord.
These can be treated with conventional (whole brain) radiation, although metastatic tumors are often better treated with surgery or radiosurgery. For patient education and support group information, visit the American Brain Tumor Association website.