What Are Some Treatments for a Schwannoma Nerve Sheath Tumor?


Quick Answer

Schwannomas may need no treatment if they are causing no symptoms, but surgery may be necessary if the tumor is causing pain or other symptoms, according to WebMD. Schwannomas rarely return after being removed completely.

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Some surgeons recommend that patients opt for surgical removal even if the nerve sheath tumor is causing no symptoms, confirms UCLA Health. The surgery generally causes minimal or no damage to the parent nerve. The surgeon may perform microsurgery for total removal of the tumor, and stereotactic radiosurgery is an alternative option, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. In the case of a vestibular schwannoma, radiation and monitoring may follow surgery, and the type of operation varies depending on the size of the tumor, states the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Damage to the nerves controlling hearing, facial movements and balance are more likely when removing larger tumors.

Although schwannomas can develop in any Schwann cell-containing peripheral nerve, the eighth cranial nerve is most susceptible, states UCLA Health. The cause of this condition is still unknown as of 2015, but it may be related to radiation. Symptoms include pain caused by pressure on a nerve and mild neurological problems, and symptoms such as weakness, stiffness and bowel control may occur if the schwannoma compresses the spinal cord.

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