To update the authors' experience with conservative management of acoustic neuromas.
Retrospective chart review.
Private practice and tertiary care referral setting.
Of 600 patients with acoustic neuroma, 102 were treated with the “wait and scan” treatment option. At least two magnetic resonance imaging scans were required of all patients.
Change in tumor size over time was evaluated, as were clinical symptoms: hearing status, tinnitus, balance disturbance, aural fullness, vertigo, headache, and facial pain, numbness, or weakness.
Of 102 patients, the average follow-up time interval was 28.5 months. Forty-five (44%) of 102 patients demonstrated a change in tumor size: an average total growth of 2.17 mm per year. In the remaining 54 patients (53%), no growth was demonstrated during a mean follow-up of 28.5 months. Three patients demonstrated actual tumor shrinkage. Of the 102 patients receiving conservative treatment, 85 (84%) reported hearing loss, 67 (66%) tinnitus, 37 (36%) balance disturbance, 29 (28%) aural fullness, 28 (27%) vertigo, 7 (7%) headache, 4 (4%) facial numbness, 2 (2%) facial weakness, and 0 (0%) facial pain.
Conservative management—“wait and scan”—for selected patients with acoustic neuroma is a reasonable choice of management instead of radiation or microsurgery. In some situations the individual morbidities associated with surgery or radiation make those treatments not in the patient's best interests. A third option is necessary in patients who cannot or do not wish to undergo those other treatments.
Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
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