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4 Signs of a Nerve Tumor

Your peripheral nerves are responsible for transmitting information from the rest of your body to your brain. When something goes wrong with one of your peripheral nerves, it can cause debilitating symptoms. 

Peripheral nerve and microsurgery specialist Dr. Anthony Echo treats nerve tumors, called schwannomas, for patients in Houston, Texas. Dr. Echo’s specialized training and background make him uniquely qualified to remove these tumors without damaging the delicate nerve fibers. 

These rare tumors affect fewer than 200,000 Americans, and the symptoms vary depending on which nerve is affected, making it tricky to diagnose at times. The team at Anthony Echo, MD, wants to help you identify when your symptoms could be the sign of a schwannoma. 

Here’s a look at four signs of a nerve tumor and the steps you should take if you believe you have a schwannoma.

What is a schwannoma?

Schwannomas are a type of tumor that forms in your peripheral nervous system. Your nerves are surrounded by protective and supportive cells called Schwann cells. Schwannomas are made up of these Schwann cells and are almost always benign.  

Researchers aren’t clear about the cause of schwannomas as they typically appear in people who are otherwise healthy. In rare cases, schwannomas form as the result of a genetic disorder that causes multiple tumors. 

What are four signs of a schwannoma?

Schwannomas don’t always cause problematic symptoms. These growths form slowly and can develop over months or years. When they do cause trouble, the exact nature of the symptoms varies depending on which area of the body or which nerve is affected. 

For example, if a spinal nerve develops a schwannoma, you may experience arm or leg pain, while a schwannoma on a facial nerve may cause you to have trouble swallowing. Schwannomas often trigger these four symptoms:  

1. A lump or bump under your skin

Often the first and only sign of a schwannoma is a visible lump, bump, or swollen area under your skin. These bumps are generally painless to the touch, but should be evaluated since untreated schwannomas can lead to nerve damage and other complications.      

2. Strange nerve sensations

Because they form on nerves, schwannomas can cause strange sensations along the affected nerve line. If you experience unexplained pain, numbness, or tingling — especially if you also have a bump under your skin — seek an evaluation at Anthony Echo, MD. 

3. Experiencing weakness

The pressure a growing schwannoma places on the nearby nerves or your spinal column can lead to a feeling of weakness in the region of the nerve serves. This is often a sign the schwannoma requires treatment. 

4. Loss of function

Over time, schwannomas can cause nerve damage and even loss of control over your muscles. If your ability to function is affected by a schwannoma, peripheral nerve surgery with an experienced surgeon, like Dr. Echo, can remove the tumor without damaging the nerve so that function is restored

What should I do if I have a schwannoma?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a schwannoma, your treatment plan depends on the size and location of the tumor. Smaller schwannomas that don’t cause pain or other symptoms may be monitored over time until they become large enough for removal. 

Schwannomas that cause problematic symptoms, like muscle weakness, loss of sensation, pain, or loss of function, may require excision through peripheral nerve surgery. These surgeries require special expertise in the peripheral nervous system and microsurgery techniques. 

It is important to have a skilled peripheral nerve surgeon remove these tumors. A permanent nerve injury can occur when an inexperienced surgeon tries to excise these tumors, which can result in chronic pain, numbness, or paralysis. These nerve tumors should be carefully dissected from the surrounding nerve fibers to preserve their function. 

Dr. Echo is an expert in peripheral nerve surgery and microsurgery, and he has successfully helped patients with troublesome schwannomas get back to symptom-free living.

If you’ve been diagnosed with or suspect you have a schwannoma, get expert help at the Anthony Echo, MD, Houston location nearest you or request an appointment online now.

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