Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Do I Need to Have My Nerve Tumor Removed?

Do I Need to Have My Nerve Tumor Removed?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a nerve tumor, it’s natural to wonder whether it should be removed. The good news is that most common types of peripheral nerve tumors, called schwannomas, are almost always benign — and not all require surgical treatment.

At Anthony Echo, MD, with multiple offices in Houston, Texas, we understand that deciding on the best treatment for your schwannoma may seem overwhelming. Our nerve tumor specialist wants to ease your concern by helping you learn more about your condition and the treatment options you have so you feel confident about your treatment decisions. 

Keep reading to learn more about benign nerve tumors, the treatments available, and some of the factors we consider when deciding whether your tumor needs to be removed.

Understanding benign nerve tumors

Your central nervous system includes your spinal cord, brain, and neurons. You have billions of neurons that act like messengers, transmitting information between your brain and the rest of your nervous system. 

Neurons send chemical signals and electrical impulses through the nerve sheath, microscopic fibers covered in a substance made of fat and protein called myelin. Sometimes, the cells that create the nerve sheath don’t grow correctly, causing tumors to form. The most common type of these tumors are called schwannomas.

The large majority of schwannomas are benign, and less than 5% are malignant or cancerous. Although schwannomas aren’t typically life threatening, that doesn’t mean they’re harmless. This type of nerve tumor can cause problematic symptoms, like pain, swelling, and numbness, and, if left untreated, may lead to complications such as:

Dr. Echo reviews your symptoms and conducts a comprehensive physical exam to understand your condition, and he may order additional testing, like an MRI, to confirm a schwannoma is the root cause of your symptoms.

Treating schwannomas

After he confirms you have a schwannoma, Dr. Echo considers your overall health, lifestyle, and goals for treatment to create a personalized treatment plan for your nerve tumor. Surgical removal is a common treatment, but not all patients with schwannomas need to have surgery.

If you aren’t experiencing significant symptoms, Dr. Echo may recommend monitoring the schwannoma to check its growth. If the tumor doesn’t grow quickly or interfere with your quality of life, the best course of treatment may be to leave it alone while checking its growth periodically. 

When your schwannoma requires treatment, however, surgical resection is usually the best option. As a highly skilled peripheral nerve surgeon, Dr. Echo safely removes your schwannoma using specialized instruments and advanced technology.

When nerve tumors should be removed

Not all patients with schwannomas need to have their nerve tumor removed. While the decision as to whether your schwannoma requires surgical removal is always decided on a case-by-case basis, there are some factors Dr. Echo considers when developing the best treatment for you. Here’s a closer look: 

Location and symptoms

Where your schwannoma develops plays a large role in determining whether it should be removed. Even though schwannomas are usually benign, they can compress other nerves or your spinal cord, causing troublesome neurological symptoms. When nerve tumors cause these issues, even very small schwannomas may be best treated with surgical excision.

Your overall health

It’s important to consider your overall health when contemplating any surgery. Patients in good overall health generally recover faster and experience fewer side effects than patients in poor health. In addition, some pre-existing health conditions may affect Dr. Echo’s ability to perform the surgery.

Choosing a nerve tumor surgeon

It’s imperative to keep in mind that nerve tumor surgery requires special training and experience, as there’s a risk of nerve damage. Be sure to seek help from experts who treat this condition and have extensive microsurgery experience. As an expert in microsurgery and peripheral nerve surgery, Dr. Echo is happy to answer any questions or concerns you have regarding your schwannoma treatment.

To schedule a consultation about your schwannoma or for more information, contact the Anthony Echo, MD, office in Houston, Texas, nearest you, or request an appointment online now.

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Important Facts About Piriformis Syndrome

If you have pain in your buttocks and legs that gets worse when you sit, you could have piriformis syndrome. Keep reading to get the facts you need to understand this painful condition and how we help.

Understanding the Different Nerve Repair Techniques

Nerve injuries affect your ability to function, can cause pain and other uncomfortable sensations, and even make routine tasks a challenge. Fortunately, different repair techniques can help. Here’s what you need to know.

The Role of MRI-Neurography for Peripheral Nerve Surgery

MRI-neurography, or magnetic resonance neurography (MRN), is an advanced technique useful for diagnosing disorders of the peripheral nerves. It’s also important during the surgery used to treat these conditions. Here’s what you need to know.