Acoustic Tumor Resection

Acoustic tumors can harm hearing and balance, cause facial numbness and press on the brainstem, potentially interfering with neurological functions. The tumors grow slowly, so choosing the right approach is important and requires a careful balancing of benefits and risks.

Our doctors are experienced working with acoustic tumors of all sizes and locations. They have the expertise and patience to help you decide what to do: carefully monitor the tumor but not intervene, target it with precision radiation therapy or remove as much as possible. If resection (removal) is the best choice, they offer the full range of surgical procedures, with the latest safeguards.

Learn more about acoustic tumors.

Acoustic Tumor Resection at St. Joseph’s

Successful acoustic tumor removal requires a sophisticated and practiced approach. We offer:

  • Individualized care: We tailor our treatment recommendations for each patient, accounting for:
    • Your age and overall health
    • Your symptoms
    • Your preferences
    • The tumor’s size, growth rate and location
  • Thorough consideration of alternatives: For some cases, our doctors may recommend am approach called “watchful waiting” — giving regular MRI (magnetic resonance imagining) scans and carefully analyzing them. Or they may suggest targeted radiation therapy. (Learn more about our stereotactic radiosurgery.)
  • Latest tools and techniques: Our doctors perform the most advanced surgical procedures. They do so while using special facial nerve open and hearing monitoring and open (low-field) MRI during surgery (intraoperative) to check how much tumor has been removed.
  • Team approach: Top acoustic tumor care is delivered through a team of specialists, which in our case includes:
    • Neurosurgeon
    • Neurotologist (surgeon for the ear and base of the skull)
    • Radiation oncologist

Acoustic Tumor Resection: What to Expect

Acoustic tumor surgery has become much safer over the years. Our surgeons are skilled at protecting your facial nerves and, when possible, your hearing and balance nerve. They use a special operating microscope to reach the tumor, with occasional assistance from a thin tube called an endoscope.

In some cases, the best way to protect both your health and your facial function, balance and hearing is to remove just a section of the tumor. Our doctors will also discuss with you the best path to reach the tumor, with three options.

Types of Acoustic Tumor Resection

If surgery is the best option, your doctor will recommend one of three types:

  • Subtotal removal: Only a part of the tumor is removed, with radiation therapy often suggested afterward. This approach can help avoid facial nerve damage, especially for larger tumors.
  • Near total removal: Almost all the tumor is removed, except for small areas entwined with the facial nerve in such a way that it is better to leave them alone.
  • Total removal: The tumor is completely removed.

Acoustic Tumor Resection: Surgical Approaches

Our surgeons can reach the tumor in three different ways, ensuring the best approach given its size, its location, your preference and whether your hearing is already compromised.

  • Translabyrinthine approach: Our surgeons may recommend an incision behind the ear, when hearing is already impaired or preserving function does not seem possible. While the procedure allows them to easily identify the facial nerve, it involves removing the bone behind the ear (mastoid) and the inner ear bone.
  • Retrosigmoid/sub-occipital approach: By making an incision near the back of the head, our surgeons can gain a clear view of the tumor and potentially preserve both hearing and the facial nerve.
  • Middle fossa approach: For smaller tumors, our surgeons can remove a small piece of bone above the ear canal, preserving the inner ear and, potentially, your hearing.

Contact Us

For more information or for a physician referral, please call (813) 644-4322.