A Neuroma is a tumour that arises from the cells of a nerve. Benign in nature, these are often slow growing and may present as sizeable by the time that symptoms such as declining hearing, tinnitus and loss of balance have become apparent.
The type of neuroma most often treated using Gamma Knife surgery is an ‘Acoustic Neuroma’, accounting for 8 out of 100 cases of primary brain tumours. They have an increasing incidence with age, and are often found more commonly in women. Some genetic conditions such as NF-II can also lead to an increased risk of Acoustic Neuromas. These tumours arise from the schwann cell lining of the vestibular or auditory nerve, hence are sometimes referred to as ‘Acoustic Schwannomas’, ‘Vestibular Schwannomas’ or ‘Vestibular Neuromas’.
Radiosurgery for acoustic neuromas is well established and can be useful in the treatment of both unilateral and bilateral neuromas. Although limited to the treatment of neromas below 4cm in diameter, radiosurgery can be planned to preserving any residual hearing in the side being treated.
Further information on acoustic neuroma is available from the British Acoustic Neuroma Association.