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Acoustic Neuroma Microsurgery
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Acoustic neuroma microsurgery is surgery done to remove a tumor (growth) in your brain called an acoustic neuroma. An acoustic neuroma is also called a vestibular schwannoma. This benign (noncancerous) tumor comes from the cells in your ear called Schwann cells. The Schwann cells are located in the vestibular and cochlear nerves of your ear. The nerves in your ear make it possible for you to hear, and maintain your balance. The tumor may press on the nerves of one or both of your ears. The tumor may cause hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing), vertigo (dizziness), or unsteadiness. The tumor may grow and cause other symptoms such as headaches, eye and facial problems, and trouble swallowing.
- There are three different surgeries that can be done to remove your tumor. The surgery you have done will depend on the size and location of your tumor. Your level of hearing loss will also help decide which surgery is best for you. Your caregiver may choose to remove your tumor through a translabyrinthine (TL), rectosigmoid (RS), or middle cranial fossa (MCF) approach. If you have little or no hearing loss your caregiver may do either the RS or MCF approaches. The MCF approach may also be chosen if your tumor is small. The TL approach is done if you have poor hearing, or your tumor is larger than three centimeters. The TL approach is also done if your tumor is deep inside your inner ear, or your brain. Having acoustic neuroma microsurgery may decrease your symptoms and prevent further hearing loss.
Take your medicine as directed:
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
- NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicine may decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine can be bought with or without a doctor's order. This medicine can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.
- Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
- Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
- Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
Follow-up visit information:
You may need to have many follow-up visits with your caregiver. You may need repeat MRI, audiometry hearing, and speech discrimination tests. Other tests to check for tumor regrowth or new symptoms may also be needed. Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit. Ask your caregiver when to come back to remove your stitches and any further testing.
Therapists may work with you after your surgery to help you with your balance, speech, and hearing. Talk to your caregiver about any special therapies you may need.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have chills, a cough, or you feel weak.
- You have increased dizziness or ringing in your ears.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or you get a rash after taking your medicines.
- Your stitches loosen or come apart.
- You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition, surgery, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have a severe headache, cannot move your neck, or have trouble thinking clearly.
- You have bad smelling drainage from your ear or your incision site.
- You have bleeding from your surgery site and blood starts to soak through your bandage.
- You have clear fluid or blood coming out of your ear or nose.
- You have shaking chills or a high fever.
- Your face begins to droop or feels numb.
- Your skin around your stitches is red, swollen, or has pus coming from it.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
- You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.