Frequently Asked Questions about Acoustic Neuromas
What is your expertise in removing acoustic neuromas?
Our doctors are skilled specialists with a combined 40 years of experience in skull base surgery for acoustic neuromas. We are an Acoustic Neuroma Association Center of Excellence under the Acoustic Neuroma Association and one of the few acoustic neuroma treatment centers in the U.S.
What surgical approaches do you recommend?
We are comfortable with all surgical approaches and tailor each surgery to the needs of the individual patient. We are highly experienced with the translabrynthine approach, posterior fossa approach, infratemporal middle fossa approach, far lateral approach and other approaches for skull base tumors.
What is your success rate in preserving the facial nerve and hearing?
Facial nerve preservation is a significant priority for our physicians, even more than completely removing a tumor. We perform facial nerve monitoring and continuous electrophysiological testing to improve outcomes. Our facial nerve preservation rate is one of the best in the country.
Hearing preservation following surgery will depend on the size and location of the tumor on the hearing nerve. In many cases, the tumors are quite large, ruling out hearing preservation. When hearing preservation is possible, we monitor the hearing nerve to achieve the best outcomes.
Do you anticipate total tumor removal with a single operation? If not, what are the follow-up procedures?
We prefer not to stage procedures. Our goal is complete excision (removal) of your tumor or a partial excision while preserving the facial nerve. For very large tumors and in certain other cases, we may stage procedures if it serves you best as a patient.
In our experience, any remaining tumor left to preserve facial nerve function typically does not grow. We monitor tumor growth over time. In rare cases, we may need to radiate the small residual tumor. These tumors are generally responsive to radiation therapy.
Will a team of specialists perform my surgery?
Yes, we perform all of our skull base surgeries as a multi-specialty team that includes fellowship-trained skull base neurosurgeons and neurotologists.
What is your rate of surgical complication with respect to stroke, infection, bleeding, cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) leak and headache?
Our outcomes are excellent. Through research and new techniques, we have reduced our CSF leak rate to less than 5%. Our stroke rate is less than 1%. We have also reduced post-operative headaches to less than 5%. Our infection and bleeding rates are less than 1% following surgery.
How often will I need MRIs?
When observing a tumor, we typically perform the first MRI at six to 12 months. We follow this appointment with regular MRIs at one- to two-year intervals, depending on the tumor’s growth rate.
Following surgery, we perform the first MRI during your hospital stay to provide a baseline. We typically perform the next scan at one year. If your tumor was removed completely, your next scans are usually at three and five years. If your tumor was partially removed, you may need more frequent scans.
Does your hospital have a neurological intensive care unit (ICU)?
Yes. We have a 34-bed neurosurgical ICU with a dedicated intensive care team monitoring patients 24/7. All nurses and staff are specially trained to care for neurosurgery patients.