Notice: Users may be experiencing issues with displaying some pages on stanfordhealthcare.org. We are working closely with our technical teams to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience.
An acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma) can cause nerve damage that affects hearing, balance and movement, and feeling in the face. If left untreated, it can lead to fluid build-up in the brain, which can be life threatening. That’s why it’s important to work with neurology experts who have extensive experience in treating brain tumors such as acoustic neuromas.
Once we have confirmed your diagnosis of an acoustic neuroma, our expert care team works together to decide on the best treatment options for you. The three main options for treating an acoustic neuroma are:
Observation and monitoring
Acoustic Neuroma Surgery
At the Stanford Brain Tumor Center, our highly skilled neurosurgeons have extensive experience in performing the complex and delicate surgical procedures to remove an acoustic neuroma. We work together with Stanford’s world-renowned otologists (ear, nose and throat doctors with additional training in complex ear diseases). Our goal is to remove the tumor and prevent further nerve damage while preserving as much of your hearing as possible.
Surgery may be the right treatment option for you if your acoustic tumor is:
Pressing on the brain
You and your neurosurgeon will discuss your available options for surgery based on your unique needs and the treatment goals. In many cases, we can remove the entire tumor. In other situations, we remove as much of the tumor as possible. Then, we use radiation therapy to treat the remaining tumor tissue, or we may observe the residual tumor. Learn more about surgery for brain tumors.
Radiation Therapy for Acoustic Neuromas
Our radiation oncologists have advanced training and experience in the latest radiation techniques to treat acoustic neuromas. We may use radiation therapy in combination with other treatments such as surgery to remove acoustic neuromas.
Radiosurgery with CyberKnife is an effective treatment option that targets the acoustic neuroma with high-dose radiation while sparing nearby healthy tissues. CyberKnife is a noninvasive technology that does not require incisions. We typically use CyberKnife:
To slow down or stop the growth of tumors that cannot be completely removed with surgery
To treat small acoustic tumors or tumors in patients who cannot have surgery, such as the elderly or people who are very sick.
Because acoustic neuromas grow slowly, observation may be the best initial treatment. In observation, also known as active surveillance, your doctor closely monitors your condition through neurological exams and imaging tests usually every 6 months.
Observation is appropriate for people who have small tumors, who are elderly or for whom surgery is risky. If your symptoms worsen or the tumor grows larger, you may need further treatment. Your doctor will discuss treatment options that may be right for you, including surgery or radiation.
Medications to Control Acoustic Neuroma Symptoms
To provide you with the best possible quality of life, we can prescribe medicines to help relieve your symptoms. Depending on the symptoms your acoustic neuroma is causing, your doctor may recommend one or more of these medications:
Anticonvulsants to reduce or prevent seizures
Corticosteroids and osmotic diuretics to reduce brain swelling
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.