Acoustic neuromas can cause problems with hearing as well as balance, and treatment must be carefully tailored to each patient’s specific needs. Drs. Alan Appley and Jason Cormier at Acadiana Neurosurgery in Lafayette, Louisiana, are skilled in treating acoustic neuroma in men and women, helping them restore normal function and prevent progression of the condition.
A neuroma is a noncancerous tumor that forms along a nerve, causing nerve irritation as well as pain or other symptoms anywhere along the nerve pathway. An acoustic neuroma develops on one of the nerves in the head (the cranial nerves) called the acoustic nerve or the vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve connects the inner ear to the brain, helping people hear and understand sound and also aiding in balance. Acoustic neuromas are also called vestibular schwannomas or neurilemmomas, and they typically grow very slowly. Most acoustic neuromas have no known cause (although radiation exposure to the head (is considered to be a risk factor); a few rare neuromas can be caused by an inherited disorder called neurofibromatosis type 2. This latter type accounts for only about 1 in 20 cases and typically causes symptoms in both ears developing by the age of 30.
Most acoustic neuromas cause few if any symptoms in their early stages and symptoms that do occur tend to be very subtle. The most common initial symptoms is a gradual loss of hearing in one ear, often accompanied by persistent ringing or buzzing noises in the same ear (a condition called tinnitus). Some people may feel pressure or “fullness” in the affected ear. Less commonly, symptoms can develop very suddenly. Over time, additional symptoms can occur, including:
Symptoms become worse as the tumors grow and press on other areas of the brain; very large tumors that press on the brain stem or other portions of the brain can be deadly.
In many cases, acoustic neuromas that cause no or few symptoms will be observed to monitor their growth over time, with surgery reserved for tumors that begin to grow rapidly or large or that cause serious symptoms. Surgery can be performed using traditional techniques and incisions around the ear or the back of the skull or using radiosurgery, which uses very precise, targeted streams of radiation to shrink the growth without the need for any incisions.
At Acadiana Neurosurgery, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed. We will be happy to submit a claim for our services to these plans as well as Medicare, with which we are a participating provider. Please remember that insurance is only a method of reimbursing the patient for fees paid to the doctor – it is not a substitute for payment. Some insurance companies pay fixed allowances for certain procedures and others pay a percentage of the charge. It is your responsibility to pay any deductible, co-insurance or any balance not paid by your insurance company. We do accept Visa, American Express and MasterCard for your convenience.
"Dr. Cormier is excellent in all facets of his practice!"
'Brilliant..... Removed a brain tumor from my 19yr old daughter few yes ago. She is doing great. Also 2 fusions on me I would recommend Dr. Cormier to anyone!!"
"Dr. Cormier, the quality of your surgical care truly makes it a healing ministry."
"I never met a doctor with such love for his work who listens to his patients and really cares about their issues. You deal with people with great patience."