"The treatment options are various depending on the age, the systemic situation of the patient and the size of the lesion".
DR. JAIME GÁLLEGO
COORDINATOR. CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM TUMORS AREA
What is a schwannoma?
Schwannomas, sometimes called neurinomas, are tumors that are derived from Schwann cells. These cells are part of the nerve cover and are responsible for the production of myelin.
Schwannomas account for 8% of primary intracranial tumors and the most frequent are associated with the vestibular or acoustic nerve (VIII cranial pair); less frequently with the trigeminal nerve (V pair), the facial nerve (VII pair) and the glossopharyngeal nerve (IX pair). It is very rare that they appear associated with other cranial pairs or in another location (intraspinal or in relation to peripheral nerves).
They are more frequent in the fifth decade of life and have a certain preponderance in the male sex.
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What are the symptoms of schwannoma?
The first symptoms detected by the patient are hearing loss and unilateral noises (tinnitus), which can appear abruptly, be episodic or appear over a few years. Later, other symptoms may appear such as facial hypesthesia, facial paralysis or difficulty in swallowing.
If it is not diagnosed and treated, more serious symptoms will appear such as instability of the walk, headache and vomiting, due to intracranial hypertension.
The most common symptoms are:
- Hearing loss.
- Facial paralysis.
- Difficulty to swallow.
Do you have any of these symptoms?
You may have a schwannoma
How is a schwannoma diagnosed?
When schwannomas are undiagnosed and begin to be treated, serious symptoms such as gait instability, headache and vomiting, due to intracranial hypertension, will appear.
With the exception of the optic nerves, all the nerves are related to the Schwann cells and are potential sites for the appearance of these tumors.
Vestibular schwannomas as they grow invade the inner ear canal and subsequently compress the brainstem and cerebellum.
The diagnosis is made, basically, by the clinic that the patient presents accompanied by the realization of a brain magnetic resonance.
How are schwannomas treated?
Observation: since they are benign lesions of slow growth, it would be indicated in patients over 70 years old, with very small lesions and with serious systemic diseases or if they are asymptomatic.
Radiosurgery: especially indicated in older patients and/or in small tumors (the best results appear in tumors smaller than 2cm. in maximum diameter). The disadvantages are that it does not allow healing, only growth control, it makes later surgeries difficult if necessary and it can cause facial nerve or trigeminal neuropathies. The advantages are that the patient does not require hospitalization, can go back to work in days or weeks and the risk of facial paresis is lower.
Microsurgery: is the only modality that can achieve a complete cure and is indicated in medium and large tumors. It requires neurophysiological monitoring throughout the procedure and subsequent admission to an intensive care unit for 12-24 hours.
Sometimes microsurgery and radiosurgery can be combined.
Where do we treat it?
IN NAVARRA AND MADRID
Central Nervous System Tumors Area
of the Cancer Center Clínica Universidad de Navarra
In the Central Nervous System Tumors Area we offer maximum safety and efficiency in brain tumor surgery, being the first hospital with a high field magnetic resonance within the operating room.
We have a highly specialized team in the surgery of brain tumors, with more than 15 years of experience.
The individualized treatment of each case by an interdisciplinary team allows us to offer the best alternative to each patient.
Why at the Clinica?
- Integral evaluation of the patient.
- Cutting edge technology.
- Expert professionals who are a national reference.