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Kangaroo Island Eucalyptus Oil and Products

Acoustic Neroma

Diagnosis

The slow-growing benign nature of this tumor means that symptoms are slow to become noticeable for many and can take years to know that medical attention is needed. Acoustic neuromas tend to grow very slowly, and they don’t spread to distant parts of the body. Sometimes they are too small to cause any problems or symptoms. Bigger acoustic neuromas can interfere with how the vestibulocochlear nerve works and so causes symptoms.

What Are The Possible Downsides and Complications?

Damage to the facial nerve can happen following treatment, causing facial palsy. Damage to the vestibulocochlear nerve can cause permanent deafness, but more often results in partial loss of hearing. If the trigeminal nerve is permanently damaged, this can also result in loss of feeling in the face.

The eighth cranial nerve – also known as the auditory or vestibulocochlear nerve – consists of the vestibular and cochlear divisions, which runs from the inner ear to the brain. The cochlear division is responsible for transmitting information about hearing and vestibular division is responsible for balance.

An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumour that develops when the specialized (Schwann) cells surrounding the vestibular division of the auditory nerve, grow at an abnormal rate in the internal auditory canal. The tumour if left untreated, can grow into the auditory canal and all the way through to the brain.

Acoustic neuromas generally grow slowly, so symptoms develop gradually. The main ones – dizziness, hearing loss and ringing in the ears (tinnitus) – are due to the effects of the tumour pressing on the auditory nerve. If the tumour grows large enough, it also may press on the nearby facial nerve and cause facial paralysis or tingling. Although the tumors are not cancerous, they can become life threatening if they grow so large that they press on brain structures that control vital body functions.

People with a hereditary disease called neurofibromatosis have a higher risk of developing acoustic neuromas and can develop tumours on both sides of the head.

Because the tumour grows so slowly, the symptoms are easy to miss or misinterpret. The earliest and most common symptoms of an acoustic neuroma are a gradual reduction in hearing in one ear and tinnitus, a ringing or noisy sound in the ear.

Other possible symptoms that may occur, depending on the extent of the tumour, include: dizziness, loss of balance or clumsiness facial paralysis, numbness or tingling, headache, a feeling of something clogging the ear, or mental confusion.

Most of these tumours grow slowly, taking years before they become large enough to cause symptoms. Once diagnosed, they must be treated or carefully observed; they do not resolve on their own.

1.8mm removed from ear to brain, it still remains in my cochlear

TREATMENT

Occasionally, doctors may recommend no action at all beyond regular monitoring. This is because an acoustic neuroma typically grows at a slow rate in the initial stages. However, in most cases, treatment is required. Options may include:

  • Surgery – microsurgery techniques are used to remove the tumour. However, side effects can include loss of hearing, and facial nerve damage.
  • Stereotactic procedure – a non-invasive device that directs gamma radiation at the tumour. Side effects may also be experienced with this procedure.

All patients will require close follow-up. Patients and their physicians need to pay close attention for hearing loss, balance and facial muscle weakness. Hearing tests and MRIs will be performed periodically to assess changes in growth or new growth.

PROGNOSIS

Acoustic neuromas are not malignant and do not spread to other parts of the body.

However, some untreated neuromas can grow very aggressively and cause severe and permanent damage to nerves, ear and brain tissue. Hearing loss and balance problems related to the tumour may remain, even after treatment by surgery or radiation. If an acoustic neuroma is diagnosed early, when the tumour is small, treatment is more likely to preserve hearing.

ENJOY EACH DAY ITS ALL A GIFT!

Again thanks for reading for a better understanding, Im happy to answer questions if someone would like, yours sincerely Bev

UPDATE 18/11/19

Hi, 4 weeks since my op, I was doing really well, off all meds and starting to feel better and sleep better, the steroids kept me awake and had nasty side effects, my hips have gone very week and if I squat I cant stand up, I have been doing a 20 walk on a walking machine each day, hopefully it wont take long to get back to normal. My eyes are still out of focus and nothing like they were before the op, so its hard to walk and concentrate and see, Ive had to get 1.5 reading glasses to see the computer and my phone, that’s how much both eyes have changes and they are both different at the moment the doctor said that this will change over time. Facial palsy is still the same, no change yet. Unfortunately my stomach has gotten infected I have a staff infection at present and on very strong IV antibiotics will keep you posted. What a shame my head is great my stomach gets infected, never mind. Cheers for now. ~Bev~

UPDATE 23/11/19

Infection has gone and I can get back to normal healing. I have found an fantastic website to help people with facial palsy,  VIDEOS FOR ME AT MY STAGE Management of Flaccid Facial Paralysis (Floppy Face) The surgeons didn’t tell me anything! Thanks to a lady on this site who put the link up after a question from someone Acoustic Neuroma / Vestibular Schwannoma Group  I’ve been taping my eye wrong at night and should have been massaging my face everyday, massaging palsy side and 9/12.19

UPDATE 9/12/19

7 Weeks have flown by, my balance and mobility is now great, ive been to the gym 2 times a week and walked 20 minutes on a walking machine. I can now squat and stand up so the steroids must be wearing off thank goodness. I see a very minute change in my face, but for now it is pretty much the same. Im sure my mouth is not quite as numb as it was in the beginning. My stomach wound is still being dressed every 3 days. Below is the lovely Dr Sharad Chawla my ENT Surgeon and Doctor for the past 7 years a lovley man. When I asked why he didnt visit me in hospital he said he came to see me on day 5 and i had been discharged. He said he was shocked but was glad to see me now. will keep you informed cheers for now ~Bev~

My lovely Dr Chawla, my eye and mouth are not as drooped as week three image. My main Doc who has been monitoring my tumor for the past 7 years!

 

 

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Acoustic Neroma

  1. Hi Bev, So sorry to hear about your misfortune and SO glad that you are recovering, all but slowly. Missed your cheerful voice when I phone just prior to you going into hospital. They say you always need to get a second opinion as everyone knows their own body. Luckily you found someone who knew what they were doing.
    Enjoy your Xmas and best wishes to you, Larry and family.

  2. Hi Bev Both Ray and I are thinking of you. We wish you the best in your recovery. Thank you for sharing such personal details of your journey. We hope you have a full recovery. Take Care.

    • Hi thanks Julie, I think this way people understand and dont just stare and wonder what has happened. Appreciate you kind words regards Bev

  3. Hi Bev, we missed you last time we were at Emu Ridge, now I know why !! Best wishes for your recovery, and our thoughts are with you whenever we think of the Island. Cheers Lynne & Roger T

    • Hi Lyn and Roger, thanks for your kind words. We have a great team out there even though I miss it like crazy. Kind regards Bev

  4. Bev, I did not have any facial paralysis as my MD was able to save my facial nerve. I do, however, have a very very tiny piece left on that nerve and it has not grown.

  5. Hello Bev: First of all, I’m sorry to learn that your first doctor dismissed your systems and glad to know you switched doctors. This story will be long so please bear with me.

    I would like you to know that I am from the USA. I, too, had an acoustic neuroma removed August 18, 2000. It was the size of a golf ball. It rested on my hearing nerve, balance nerve, facial nerve and brain stem. My surgery was 14 hours.

    Earlier in the year 2000 (January actually), I was outside in our cold New England weather (I’m from Massachusetts) and it was a very windy day. I ended up being dizzy which was very unusual. I shrugged it off. Well, it kept happening every time I went outside. So I went to my doctor who examined me by having me by placing me upside down on the exam table and tilting my head from side to side. I got dizzy on one side when he did this. He thought perhaps I had a virus so he told me to come back in a month if it wasn’t better.

    I did go back to him. He then referred me to an ENT. From there I had a bunch of tests which revealed this tumor. I never had any symptoms until that year. He is a great doctor and told me that it doesn’t present itself with symptoms, until it’s a little bigger. But….I always thought that I had some ringing in my left ear but because I had hearing in both ears, this ringing was masked. I also was worried about cancer but he told me these are ALWAYS benign.

    So, he came right out and told me that because of its’ size, he would have to cut my hearing nerve (rendering me deaf in my left ear), cut my balance nerve (yes, that’s what he did) and he wasn’t sure if he could save my facial nerve which would render me, like you, with left side paralysis.

    Thankfully, he was able to save my facial nerve. I only have a very very tiny piece of the neuroma left on that facial nerve because he said that if he took it off, I would definitely be paralyzed on the left side.

    Needless to say when I awoke from this surgery I did not feel well. Wow–not having a balance nerve was really difficult. I couldn’t walk without support. I used a walker for a couple of weeks and then progressed to a cane. I had a physical therapist come to the house so that I could have therapy to help me. I did the exercises she taught me faithfully. I used this cane for a good 4-5 months. I didn’t feel like myself for almost a year. I was determined that I was going to be OK. You are correct that during the day you feel fine walking but at night it’s a different story. That will pass, Bev. I still to this day, if it’s really dark outside, will feel a little wobbly, and sometimes need someone’s arm if someone is with me, but nothing like it was when I first had my surgery and for a year afterwards. I am careful, though, stepping up on a ladder or anything with height.

    I now suffer from extremely loud tinnitus in my left ear. If you suffer from this, don’t let anyone tell you to “learn to live with it.” (I belong to http://www.ata.org. Perhaps there’s something like this in Australia). I rule the tinnitus. I do get tired listening to it and sometimes wish for just ONE day that I would “hear” silence.

    I was followed by my ENT every year for 10 years after this surgery and had MRI’s every year. Every year was good with no recurrence. Around 2-1/2 years ago I got a little dizzy when I turned my head in bed. I went back to him and my testing revealed that I’m still OK, for which I am thankful.

    Hang in there Bev. You WILL get better but it will take time.

    My husband and I visited Australia in 1999 and Kangaroo Island and your store and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

    Feel free to email me any time.

    • Hi Denise thanks for your kind words and help, ill check out that link and yes ive been deaf for 6 years now and the tinnitus is a pain but I think Im onto it! How long did it take any of your facial functions to start to work, i know everyone is different? So glad you have nce memories of Kangaroo Island and our store. Kindest regards we are one in a million. Bev

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