Mayo Clinic Finds Stereotactic Radiosurgery is Successful for Most Patients with Large Acoustic Neuromas

ROCHESTER, Minn. -A new Mayo Clinic study has found that Gamma Knife™ stereotactic radiosurgery is a successful treatment for the majority of patients who have large acoustic neuromas (also known as vestibular schwannoma or neurolemmoma). Gamma Knife surgery already is an accepted treatment for small to medium-sized acoustic neuromas. This study was presented at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this week. 

An acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous tissue growth that arises on a cranial nerve leading from the brain to the inner ear. This nerve is associated with transmitting sound and sending balance information to the brain from the inner ear. Symptoms of acoustic neuromas may include hearing loss, dizziness and ringing in the ears. Treatment options include observation, surgical removal and stereotactic radiosurgery. Each year, Mayo Clinic neurologists and neurosurgeons care for more than 2,200 patients with brain and nervous system tumors, including many with acoustic neuromas. 

“Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery allows us to perform neurosurgery without an incision,” says Michael Link, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon and study author. “Instead, we use gamma radiation to destroy diseased tissue while preserving the surrounding healthy tissue. It is typically a short procedure and most patients can be discharged from the hospital the same day.”
Dr. Link and a team of Mayo Clinic researchers collected data from 34 patients who had Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery for a large acoustic neuroma between 1997 and 2006. These individuals’ acoustic neuromas represented tumor volumes that were considered large (one standard deviation above the mean). At three years, 89.4 percent of these patients had not experienced tumor progression, 91.6 percent were free of new facial neuropathy and 52.8 percent had preserved functional hearing. At five years, the rates decreased to 82.9 percent with no tumor recurrence or progression, 86.4 percent free of new facial neuropathy and 34.5 percent with preserved functional hearing. At the most recent follow-up, 85 percent of the tumors were smaller than at the time of stereotactic radiosurgery. 

“This data shows us that Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery is a very well-tolerated, successful treatment for the majority of patients with large acoustic neuromas,” says Dr. Link. “However, it should be noted that with large acoustic neuromas, the rates of cranial nerve disability and tumor progression are higher, compared to patients with smaller tumors. Therefore, careful consideration of all the available treatment options needs to be entertained before making a treatment decision.” 

The Mayo Clinic research team also included Brian Milligan, M.D., Robert Foote, M.D., and Bruce Pollock, M.D. 

To request an appointment at Mayo Clinic, please call 480-422-1490 for the Arizona campus, 904-494-6484 for the Florida campus, or 507-216-4573 for the Minnesota campus. 

About Mayo Clinic
For more than 100 years, millions of people from all walks of life have found answers at Mayo Clinic. These patients tell us they leave Mayo Clinic with peace of mind knowing they received care from the world's leading experts. Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. At Mayo Clinic, a team of specialists is assembled to take the time to listen, understand and care for patients' health issues and concerns. These teams draw from more than 3,700 physicians and scientists and 50,100 allied staff that work at Mayo Clinic’s campuses in Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona; and community-based providers in more than 70 locations in southern Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. These locations treat more than half a million people each year. To best serve patients, Mayo Clinic works with many insurance companies, does not require a physician referral in most cases and is an in-network provider for millions of people. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. For information about research and education, visit www.mayo.edu. MayoClinic.com (www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for your general health information.


Mayo Clinic
Elizabeth Rice, 507-538-7982

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