Please note that individual risks can vary depending on multiple factors including the size and location of the tumor, the patient’s overall health, age, and specific medical condition:
Observation: During observation, the tumor is monitored for growth with periodic MRI scans. According to studies, about 50-60% of acoustic neuromas do not grow during the first few years of observation. However, if the tumor does grow, it may lead to worsening symptoms over time.
Surgery: Risks associated with surgical removal of an acoustic neuroma can vary widely, but in general:
Hearing loss in the affected ear occurs in a significant number of cases. Studies show that it can range anywhere from 30% to over 90%, depending on the tumor size and surgical technique used.
Facial nerve weakness or paralysis can occur in about 15-50% of patients immediately after surgery, but this often improves over time. Permanent facial nerve damage occurs in approximately 3-7% of cases.
A small percentage of patients may develop other complications, such as balance problems, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, infections, or stroke.
Mortality rates from acoustic neuroma surgery are quite low, typically around 0.2-0.5%.
Radiosurgery: Radiosurgery involves the delivery of targeted radiation to the tumor. It carries a low risk of complications:
Hearing loss can occur after radiosurgery, but the risk is generally lower than with surgical removal. Studies suggest that about 30-70% of patients retain useful hearing in the treated ear after radiosurgery.
Facial nerve damage is rare after radiosurgery, with reported rates usually below 3%.
Other complications, such as balance problems or tinnitus, are infrequent and typically mild when they do occur.